According to Holness SOEs will always exist

On December 6, Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement of the State of Public Emergency during a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister. (Image: JIS)

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“I won’t quit,” and “states of emergency” (SOEs) will always exist,”

That was the statement made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday morning, immediately after announcing another round of SOEs for eight parishes and in response to questioning from reporters during a press conference held at Jamaica House.

State of emergencies will be used by this administration for as long as necessary, according to Holness.

Holness was questioned about how long the government planned to keep the emergency measure in place after earlier stating that SOEs would be required for at least seven years to eradicate crime in Jamaica.

“Let’s be clear: Every nation has to have emergency authorities at the ready. “Using the entire force of the state to defend itself is the last option within the legal and constitutional procedure,” Holness added.

“This concept that you can’t utilize the SOE is a crap notion,” he claimed.
The prime minister said, “If the state is under attack as it is, people don’t realize it because we’ve managed it so effectively up to this point, but there are numerous states in this region that are under threat and they have reacted in far more strict ways than this administration has.”
Holness cited the governments of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras as examples of nations with aggressive criminal justice systems.
The prime minister responded in the affirmative to his rhetorical question about the necessity of SOEs.
He said that “SOEs will always exist” and noted that “France has had an SOE for two years running.”
According to Holness, “countries that we aspire to the model have continuing situations of emergency in various locations to address various difficulties; it’s a fact.”
When asked if that was something the nation wanted to do indefinitely, Holness responded, “Absolutely not.”
However, he asserted that the constitution has to be updated to reflect contemporary reality in order for such powers to be quickly and efficiently exercised when necessary.
The prime minister also criticized the People’s National Party (PNP), the opposition party, for refusing to support the SOEs, which led to the security measure for seven parishes that had been announced on November 15 expiring on November 29.
He said that the opposition didn’t give a damn about preserving life.
Holness claimed that certain people in our midst either inhabit a fantasy world or are hell-bent on “tricking the populace.”
However, he said, “I live in the realm of reality, and the truth is that there are organized criminal violence at a level that affects the State; it threatens the security and safety of every Jamaican.”
Holness said, “The people who complain about the SOEs are not the ones who gain from them in the villages where they have to hide under their beds, conceal their girls, are unable to attend church, and see the murder of their sons, partners, and husbands. The truth is that.
The government, according to the prime minister, is working to increase its capacity to respond to security threats without suspending, abrogating, or otherwise restricting any rights that would otherwise be applicable.
In reference to the PNP once more, he said: “Those who take comfort in the fact that the Opposition will continue to thwart the Government’s efforts to save lives and lessen violence, there is no such comfort to be had because the Government will be relentless on all fronts to combat your criminal and violent intent.
In some regions of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Ann, and Clarendon, as well as the tri-parish region of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover, the most recent round of SOEs is currently in place for an initial two-week period.
The most recent SOEs now include the St. Ann parish and the St. Andrew Central police division.

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