At last! ... Blood-drenched St James gets state of public emergency

January 19, 2018
Soldiers in the Flanker area of Montego Bay, St James this week.


Yesterday's announcement of a state of emergency for the crime-crippled parish of St James means that the security forces will have extraordinary powers, and the suspension of certain rights that citizens now have.

The security forces will have the power to search, curtail operating hours of business, access to places, and to detain persons without a warrant.

 All persons using all roads leading in and out of St James will be subject to vehicle and personal search. In various areas of the city and township, there will be joint static and mobile patrol. Persons may also be stopped at various checkpoints.

Andrew Holness, prime minister:

"Crime and violence in particular murders have been escalating in the parish of St. James. I have been advised by the security forces, in writing, that the level of criminal activity experienced, continued and threatened, is of such a nature and so extensive in scale as to endanger public safety."

Robert Montague, national security minister:

"We are appealing to citizens for any information. Now is the time to tell us who the gunmen and gangsters are."

George Quallo, commissioner of police:

"The key operational objectives of the security forces are to disrupt the activities of these gangs, regularise the security environment and ensure the restoration of peace and the rule of law."

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