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Gov’t to Provide IDs for Persons Detained During State of Public Emergency

Photo: Adrian Walker

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, speaking in the House of Representatives on January 30.

The Government will be providing identification (ID) cards for persons who are in need of one and have been detained during the State of Public Emergency now under way in St. James.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on January 30, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said many of the persons who were detained had no identification.

“We have given instruction that when we have them in detention, once they can take in their birth certificate, then we will stand the cost of getting them identification,” he said.

He said upon their release, “we should be able to properly identify them (and) get them engaged in a programme”.

Providing a profile of the persons who have been detained, Mr. Holness said many of them are young males between 18 and 25 years of age. “They have no skills… and having these young men in detention, the idea is not to punish; the idea is to rehabilitate,” he said.

He said some have been detained on suspicion of murder, lottery scamming and outstanding warrants.

In the meantime, he said the Parliament will be provided with the status of each person who has been detained, following the report of the Emergency Powers Tribunal.

“We have put in place the Emergency Powers Tribunal, and I am going to suggest to the Tribunal, through the Minister of Justice and the Ministry of National Security, that they give a report to the Governor-General. I am going to ask the Governor-General to make it available to me to bring it to Parliament about how the powers have been used and the status of each person that is detained,” he said.

He also noted that provisions have been made for additional judges in the parish and legal aid representation.

At the sitting, all 51 members of the House who were present voted in favour of the Emergency Powers (Continuance) Resolution 2018, which will extend the State of Public Emergency in the parish of St. James until May 2, 2018. Eleven members were absent.

The State of Public Emergency was declared on January 18.


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