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Jamaica: Holness: SOE Legal Challenges Hamper Crime-Fighting

PRIME MINISTER Andrew Holness has said that the absence of states of public emergency (SOEs) is making it more difficult to create a safe and secure Jamaica.

In January 2018, the Holness administration declared a SOE in St James, under the Emergency Powers Act of 1938, to combat the wave of lawlessness after the parish registered an unprecedented 335 murders in 2017 and started 2018 with the same bloody rampage, which had residents cowering in fear and begging for enhanced security.

“It is my job and duty to ensure the safety of every single citizen of Jamaica, and whatever I must do to ensure that you are safe, you have my assurance that I will be doing it, and I am doing it,” said Holness, after participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Mt Salem Police Station last week. “It is a difficult balancing act because we now do not have the tools of the SOEs because it is being questioned and challenged.”

Drawing reference to a recent newspaper editorial, which indicated that he has no luck with constitutional matters and the ongoing debate about whether or not the SOE is constitutional, Holness says he will continue to take decisive actions in the best interest of all Jamaicans.

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