Opposition leader calls out ‘wrong and strong’ PM over SOEs

December 07, 2022

The leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding, has called out Prime Minister Andrew Holness for what he says is a lack of consultation regarding Tuesday’s declaration of States of Emergency (SOEs). 

“Mr Holness prefers to be wrong and strong, pressing on with his SOE policy. His behaviour indicates that he really does not want our support…” Golding said. 

Another round of SOEs was declared in St Catherine, St Ann, Clarendon, Kingston and St Andrew, St James, Westmoreland and Hanover yesterday. 

This declaration comes nearly two weeks since the last SOEs were brought to an end after an extension request was blocked in the Senate by the Opposition.

Golding argues that not only is the repeated use of SOEs unlawful, but it is not sustainable as a policing tool.

“SOEs are just about detention. But detention is not a sustainable strategy for reducing violent crime… SOEs therefore encourage sloppy law enforcement practices, because anyone can be held and kept in custody without the police having to bring a case to court,” he said. 

Prime Minister Holness yesterday argued that SOEs are an important part of any society, noting that the he intends to keep using the measure as necessary.

“The Government is intent on going down its own road, in another direction. That is not good for Jamaica,” Golding counteracted.

The Opposition leader says if asked, he is willing to assist the Government to develop a sustainable solution that does not involve the “abuse” of the Constitution.

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