A state of public emergency (SOE) has been declared for the entire geographical areas in the parishes of Clarendon and St James.
In a release this morning, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) stated: “The Government, acting in accordance with the Constitution of Jamaica, petitioned the Governor General His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen on the advice of the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Defence Staff, to declare a State of Emergency for the two parishes for an initial period of 14 days beginning midnight on March 14, 2023.”
In declaring the areas under SOE, the proclamation states that:
“…action has been taken or is immediately threatened by persons or bodies of persons of such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to be likely to endanger the public safety of the communities in the areas specified.”
According to the OPM, St James and Clarendon remain of particular concern for outbreaks of gang violence.
In acknowledging the declaration, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said: “Organised gangs remain a threat in these parishes. Although there have been some successes in reducing murders through strategic and tactical security operations, more needs to be done. As we acknowledge this, the Government will continue to use all tools at our disposal to protect the lives of our citizens of Jamaica and dismantle the threat to law and order.”
The declaration of a state of public emergency is expected to allow the security forces to carry out targeted operations to disrupt and dismantle criminal gangs and their networks and prevent the occurrence of serious crimes.
The OPM said the Government was assuring the public and all stakeholders that the safety and security of all Jamaicans remains its top priority.
“All citizens are urged to cooperate with the security forces as they work to stop criminal activity.”