St. Catherine has been declared a State of Emergency.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the special measure will be instituted for 14 days initially. Members of the public and residents of the parish are being urged to comply with the security forces at checkpoints by, adhering to the curfew guidelines and notifying them of any breaches of professional conduct by members. Prime Minister Holness says the decision was made after a review of the current crime situation in St. Catherine. In less than two weeks about 10 persons have been killed in the parish.
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson says the parish has 12 active gang conflicts that are fueling this up tick. Since the start of the year 82 persons have been arrested for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition while 59 illegal guns have been seized. He says just 6 weeks ago crime in the parish was down 40 percent. Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang says the increased threat cannot be managed with normal law enforcement activities. Calling them out by name, Dr. Chang says “whether wildlife or klans, unruly or one order” the gangster will be snuffed out and their gangs dismantled.
As the internal gang conflicts threaten the lives of innocents, the prime minister says the safety and security of Jamaicans is foremost.
Reporter: Jhanielle Powell