Jamaican News


In a bombshell move the Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillip’s announced in Parliament today December 11, 2018 that the JLP led Michael Andrew Holness would not get their support to extend the State Of Emergency in three parishes.  Montego Bay, St. Catherine and Kingston.
Two Third Majority
In accordance with the Jamaican Constitution a 2/3 majority is required in both houses of parliament for certain entrenched clauses like amendments to our constitution to be effected.  The House of Representatives and the Senate must vote 2/3 when voting on  such bills …  like state of Emergency (SOE).
Lack Public Support
The opposition’s decision not to vote to support the extension of SOE scheduled to end January 19, 2019 has not gone down well in the country.  Callers to public radio have tearfully condemned the opposition’s decision not to support the JLP in the special security measures (SOE).
Snap Election 
A common thread among callers is for the government to call a snap Election.  The ruling party that forms the government can call a snap poll at anytime during its 5 year term in office.  It is the sole prerogative of the prime minister as he sees it fit to make that call.
Public Defender
Dr. Peter Phillip’s cited a recent report by the Office Of The Public Defender (OPD) Harrison which stated that there were human rights abuses under the SOES. This report has since been discredited.  The PM toured the lock ups and detention centres and there has been no reports of extrajudicial killings by the security forces.  Human rights has been the focus of these “enhanced security measures.” This report  and evidence of abuses cannot be corroborated on the ground.
The PM praised the security forces ” The professionalism and respect for the rights of citizens, especially those detained under the special security measures/SOE. has been commendable” Holness.
Murders Down 22 percent 
Fitz Jackson PNP Spokesman on National Security has said ” 333 homicides last year 2017 in Montego Bay … from October to December 8 this year crime levels have leveled off.  There is no further need for a SOE.  Other measures exist to control crime.  Attorney general Marlene Forte agreed in Parliament that different pieces of legislation can be used to effect the same things as the provisions under the SOE.”
Treason Against The Nation” …  Public Commentator Kevin O’Brian Chang stated on radio. Hundreds of lives have been saved due to the saturation of members of the security forces.
PM Holness made an impassioned plea for the extension of the SOE especially in Mobay. “This is a watershed moment in Jamaica” as he contributed to the debate for the vote to continue the SOEs. That plea, however, seem to have fallen on deaf ears.  In 2010 Peter Bunting, then National security Minister opposed the extension of SOE which may have allowed the security forces to stop and search and get the guns.  We probably would not need SOES eight years later after 2010 if Bunting did not block that extension.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is SIC for Vision Newspaper Canada

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