Mt Salem welcomes latest ZOSO extension
While they are not entirely pleased with the restrictions, especially with regard to some aspects of their social life, some residents of Mount Salem in St James are in support of the latest 60-day extension to the zone of special operations (ZOSO), which has been in place in their community since September 1, 2017.
“Well, you know, we are not allowed to sit on the corners at night, and the business places have to close at an early hour, but why should we complain when we can sleep in peace at nights and go about our business without fear in the daylight hours?” said businessman Marvin Brown. “I can tell you that Mount Salem is a much better place as a result of the ZOSO intervention.”
This week, the House of Representatives extended the ZOSOs in Mount Salem and Denham Town, Kingston, to consolidate on the gains the security forces have made in combating lawlessness and reforming the communities.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said that the initiatives have proven quite successful in curtailing crime in the two communities, which were previously considered violence-prone areas.
Chang said the Mount Salem ZOSO, which should have lasted for 60 days and has now had five extensions, is in its ‘build’ phase, the final of the three-stage initiative, which entails stopping violence and restoring order and then putting measures in place to improve the quality of life for residents.
Many young Mount Salem residents have also embraced the initiative as through the social intervention aspect, they have been able to secure important documents that are critical to them securing jobs and getting the opportunity to travel.
“I was having trouble getting my birth certificate, so I never had a passport. Through the ZOSO, dem help mi to get both my birth certificate and the passport,” a young man told The Gleaner. “Right now, I am trying to get on the overseas work programme because it is all about trying to do the best I can for myself and my family.”