The Senate, on Friday (October 4), Senator Kamina Johnson Smith extends the SOE – State of Public Emergency (SOE) for the St. Andrew South Police Division for another 90 days
In her address, Leader of Government Business and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith said while the SOE has had successes, the division is not yet where it needs to be.
“Since the implementation of the SOE over the comparative period of the July 7 to September 28 (a period of 84 days), when compared to the equivalent period of April 14 to July 6, murders in the St. Andrew South Police division have reduced by 58 per cent… from 53 to 22,” she stated.
She further noted that shootings have reduced by 47 per cent, from 51 to 27.
“It is instructive to mention that there was an overall reduction in category one crimes – murders, shootings, rape aggravated assault, robbery, break- in and larceny- aggregated they have reduced by 40 per cent in that division,” Senator Johnson Smith added.
Since the SOE was declared the following seizures have been recorded: 12 firearms, 120 ammunitions, eight magazines and 11 persons have been arrested and charged.
However, Senator Johnson Smith pointed out that despite the reduction in murders and shooting achieved since the start of the SOE, the numbers remain high.
“As at September 28, even from the start of the year, even including the reductions, these figured stood at 116 murders and 127 shootings. These are not normal numbers for such a small population,” she informed.
“There are feuds involving 75 gangs in this area operating within the boundaries of this SOE. That is an emergency and it requires us to give the security forces the time to ensure that these gangs who are heavily armed, who perpetuate violence, criminal activity and cause a high level of fear and insecurity in the communities, that they are given the time to bring this under control,” Senator Johnson Smith added.
The SOEs will give the security forces temporary additional powers, including powers of search, arrest and detention.
During the SOEs, the security forces will have the power to search, curtail operating hours of business, restrict access to places and detain persons without a warrant.