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Parliamentary committee to begin deliberation on zones of special operation

Published:Tuesday | June 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMJerome Reynolds

A Joint Select Committee of Parliament is today to begin deliberation on the Government’s proposed law to introduce zones of special operations, which will give the security forces additional powers to tackle crime.

Today’s sitting comes amid outcries for action from the government in light of a crime wave that has seen dozens of murders in recent weeks.

The proposed legislation empowers the Prime Minister to declare certain geographical areas as a zone of special operations where there are reasonable grounds to believe that rampant criminality, gang warfare, escalating violence and murder, threaten the rule of law and public order.

Once a zone is designated, select security personnel will be able to impose curfews, cordons, conduct searches of people and property and to detain and arrest persons in circumstances set out in the proposed legislation.

The designation may not exceed 60 days in the first instance, but the Government may extend the period for up to 120 days.

At a press conference yesterday, opposition leader, Dr Peter Phillips, said opposition does not see the need for additional legislation because there are already laws that give the security forces and the government the same powers being proposed in the special zones act.

Phillips argued that the focus should be on addressing the resource challenges that are hindering the criminal justice system.


Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips