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Holness begs Jamaican Diaspora for support on SOEs

Published:Friday | December 9, 2022 | 11:49 AM
Holness argued that states of emergency result in the reduction of murders where imposed. - File photo

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has urged members of the Jamaican Diaspora to throw their support behind the imposition of states of emergency in Jamaica, saying that the measure is designed to save lives.

The prime minister questioned: “We hear the criticisms of the state of emergency with people being concerned about the rights of the criminal, but what about the rights of innocent people to go about their ordinary everyday business without fear of losing their lives?” 

Holness argued that states of emergency result in the reduction of murders where imposed.

According to Holness, the state of emergency is not to create “shock and awe”.

“The state of emergency is designed merely to provide the security forces with a tool to help stem murders while other measures are put in place,” he said.

The prime minister was speaking Thursday night on Jamaica Connect, a virtual town hall hosted by Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks.

The state of emergency, he said, is often viewed with concern and alarm, but he added that the Government does not use all the provisions the measure allows.

“It is specific and targeted aimed at protecting the lives of Jamaicans,” Holness pointed out.

He said that Jamaicans must have the right to move about, to worship and to engage in other activities, and the Government is fully committed to protecting the lives of Jamaicans.

The prime minister told his audience that this Christmas season, the first one being celebrated since the discontinuation of COVID-19 restrictions, is expected to see an explosion of activities in entertainment and commerce, and the country will also see an increase in criminal activities.

“The pattern is that towards the end of the year there is an increase in criminal activities. We don't know why but it is a pattern,” he said.

Holness said that accordingly, the government has to plan to keep Jamaicans safe.

“This means having more security personnel on the streets,” he pointed out.

- Lester Hinds

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