Friday, 14 August 2020 11:49

States of Emergency to end in light of upcoming general elections Featured

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Members of the Senate on Wednesday (August 12) approved Resolutions to end the States of Public Emergency (SOEs) that are currently in place in sections of the island.

The SOEs, which were established in St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland, Eastern Kingston, Kingston Western, Kingston Central, South St. Andrew, St. Catherine North and Clarendon, will now expire on Monday, August 17.

Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, moved the five Resolutions.

While noting the concerns raised about the ending of the SOEs, Senator Johnson Smith said the security forces have assured that they will put in place appropriate arrangements “to ensure the continued safety and security of residents, who have relied on their presence for their sense of safety, security and well-being within the communities”.

“We take the assurances of the security forces in the same vein that we have taken the great faith placed in them over the period within which the [SOEs} have been in effect and during which they have done yeoman service,” she said.

Describing them as heroes, Senator Johnson Smith praised the security forces for their diligence in carrying out their duties under the SOEs, noting that “they keep us safe on the front line and they had been working before COVID-19, through COVID and they will be working after COVID to continue to keep us safe”.

In the meantime, she noted that the SOEs have been effective in reducing murders and shootings in all the areas they have been declared, adding that as at August 7, there has been a 12.5 per cent reduction in total crimes.

“They (SOEs) have provided the space for our security forces to deliver improved policing in other areas as well,” she said.

The Resolutions, which sought to end the SOEs earlier than the previously set September 3 expiration date, were approved by members of the Lower House during its sitting on Tuesday (August 11).

The approval of the Resolutions by both the Lower House and the Senate is in keeping with the commitment of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, not to hold the General Election while the SOEs are in place.

Mr. Holness has announced that the General Election will be held on Thursday, September 3 and that Nomination Day is Tuesday, August 18.