Wednesday, 16 November 2022 17:52

Bunting questions justification for new SOEs, says PSTEB has failed

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Opposition Spokesman on National Security Senator Peter Bunting has challenged the reasons given by Prime Minister Andrew Holness for Tuesday’s declaration of  states of emergency across seven parishes.

Labeling the move "political maneuvering", Mr Bunting said the law requires certain conditions to be met as justification for the proclamation by the Governor-General, but this was not done.

Mr Bunting said the reasons for the measure, as outlined by the Prime Minister do not meet the criteria for the declaration.

He also questioned why the security measure was not applied in those police divisions with similar or higher crime rates.

The Prime Minister declared states of emergency in Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James, Clarendon, St. Catherine and all police divisions in Kingston & St. Andrew, with the exception of St. Andrew North and St. Andrew Central.

In light of the concerns highlighted, Mr. Bunting expressed doubt as to whether the Parliamentary Opposition will be supporting the extension of the security measure after the initial 14-day period, based on what he said was a lack of information about the regulations.
Noting that, "the most basic admininistratie requirements for the state of emergency are unavailable to us, after the state of emergency has been declared," he complained that the Opposition has not yet seen the requisite regulations.
Senator Bunting has also taken issue with the work of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB), insisting that it has failed to fulfill its mandate to provide public safety on the roads.

More than four hundred people have died in road crashes since January, and according to Mr Bunting, road fatalities have increased “by about 25 or 30 per cent since the introduction (of PSTEB).”

 “That has been a failure and the government needs to ‘wheel and come again’; they have responsibility for maintaining order on the roads and they need to find solutions,” he asserted.

PSTEB was established in 2017.