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Opposition demands ... What next after SOEs?

Published:Monday | July 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM

A call is being made for Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson to immediately tell the nation what the plans are beyond the current states of emergency (SOE) “to stem the growing incidents of murder and other atrocities affecting several communities and townships across the island”.

In making the call, Fitz Jackson, opposition spokesman on national security, said the current state of affairs was of the utmost concern because there has been an uptick in murders and violence across several communities and in some areas within the jurisdictions of SOEs.

In a release from the People’s National Party (PNP) yesterday, Jackson said that recent shootings and deadly attacks in West Kingston and St James indicate that ruthless thugs are not deterred by the presence of SOEs. The PNP release stated that it appeared that criminals have studied the deployment pattern of the SOEs and have been using it as cover to carry out crimes, showing no regard for what was intended to be a ‘shock and awe’ response by the State.

“A series of shootings in Trench Town, a stone’s throw away from a police-military check point, recently, is evidence of the criminal disregard for the state of emergency. This is alarming and disconcerting,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s comments in the PNP release came a week after The Sunday Gleaner reported that Anderson, during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum, had revealed a seven-point crime plan to be done in three-month phases but all running concurrently. Among the pillars of the plan was crime reduction and control as well as improving public safety and citizen security.

“Our aim is to make Jamaica safe. And at the top of that is our concern about the number of persons who die in Jamaica, which is something that we really need to get a handle on and deal with,” Anderson said during the forum.

“For us as the police force, what we see as a statistic of murder is very real. Those are real people who have been killed.”


... JDF chief too “generous” in joining routine operations

In the meantime, according to the PNP, “criminals are no longer fazed or deterred by the presence of the military and/or special police units”.

The party said that for some time, many current senior and retired Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) personnel have been expressing concerns about Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Rocky Meade’s “generous approach” to the involvement and deployment of the JDF in routine and extended operations, diluting the effectiveness of the army in response to civil unrest.

“It has become increasingly clear that effective policing techniques have been abandoned and replaced by an ever growing reliance on the military to achieve what effective policing is capable of doing,” said that Jackson, who claimed that he has been receiving information suggesting a growing rift and dissension within the JCF senior ranks because of the increased marginalisation of policing in the operations.