Sun | Feb 5, 2023

Business groups push Opposition to extend SOEs

Published:Friday | November 25, 2022 | 7:40 AM

Fifteen private-sector groups are urging the parliamentary Opposition to support extension of the states of emergency (SOEs) until January 14.

The Senate will meet to consider the matter on Friday following approval of the resolution in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

However, it will require an affirmative vote by at least one opposition senator for the extension to be approved.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding has stated that his side still has major concerns about extending the SOEs.

However, the broad-based private-sector grouping is suggesting that the Opposition support the extension with the condition that the Government address outstanding key issues critical in achieving full Opposition support.

The groups argue that the data demonstrate that SOEs can help to save lives.

“Nationally, the data show 63 murders being recorded the weeks before the declaration of the SOEs. Data show that 12 murders were recorded in the first week of the declaration of SOEs. This is a significant decline,” they said.

The groups further note that since Wednesday, within the parishes and specific zones where SOEs were declared, murders have fallen from 21 in the period November 7-14 to 6 from November 15 to 22.

The groups say they agree with the Opposition that SOEs should not be a routine measure in normal times but argue that the trend in recent months suggests that additional measures are now needed.

“Jamaica is bleeding, and we are at a point of great frustration as citizens. We expect our prime minister to lead this process and engage the Opposition with humility and inclusiveness. We are hopeful that the Opposition will reciprocate,” they said.

The groups supporting the appeal:

• The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica

• The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce

• The Jamaica Manufacturers & Exporters Association

• The Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association

• The MSME Alliance

• The Small Business Association of Jamaica

• The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry

• The Negril Chamber of Commerce

• The Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce

• The May Pen Chamber of Commerce

• The Jamaica Employers Federation

• The Jamaica Union of Travellers Association

• The Dunn’s River Craft Traders Market Association

• The Ocho Rios Craft Council

• The Jamaican Craft Traders & Producers Association