While waiting for its day in court challenging a Supreme Court ruling that detentions under states of emergency were in breach of the Constitution, the Andrew Holness administration has signalled that work is well advanced on new legislation to provide the security forces with the arsenal for tackling violent crime.
Prime Minister Holness told journalists on Sunday that his administration would put in place “a better scheme of arrangements that are clarified and clearer in keeping with the Constitution of Jamaica”.
He said the Emergency Security Measures Act (ESMA) was now in the development process and would be introduced in Parliament at a later date.
However, Holness said that his Government was not abandoning the use of states of emergency if the need arose.
He argued that if a situation occurred where there was threat to life, community, and property that satisfied the constitutional requirements, the Government would trigger the security order.
“The declaration of one still remains an option for the Government. We have never closed that option,” the prime minister said during a Jamaica House press conference to declare a zone of special operations in Norwood, St James.