Wed | Feb 1, 2023

SOE regulations tabled in Senate

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2022 | 1:12 AM

The regulations for the states of public emergency (SOEs) announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday were tabled in the Upper House on Friday.

This follows the tabling and subsequent withdrawal of the documents in the Lower House on Tuesday.

Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang had informed The Gleaner that the regulations were withdrawn to allow the attorney general an opportunity to review them.

The attorney general “always wishes to review [the regulations] before they are tabled to ensure there are no errors, whether typo, editorial or substantive”, Chang said.

The regulations are expected to be tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Holness announced the reimposition of SOEs in Clarendon, St Catherine, St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, and sections of Kingston and St Andrew. St Ann is now also under an SOE.

On Friday, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) expressed disappointment with the late tabling of the SOE regulations. It noted that the regulations give the security forces extraordinary powers to deal with the emergency, arguing that without the regulations in place, the security forces are only able to exercise their normal policing powers.

“While we appreciate that there may be adjustments based on feedback received, there is already too much noise around the use of the SOEs for the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) to add more fuel to the fire,” the PSOJ head added. “This is not the first occurrence of the bungling of the tabling of regulations. The GOJ can do better and must do better.”