Jamaica News,St. James business and tourism interests say they are in strong support of the extension of the State of Emergency (SOE) in the parish, arguing that “Montego Bay and neighbouring communities have never felt safer”.
Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship Homer Davis, told JIS News it is clear that the SOE is working, and every effort should be made “to keep a good thing going”.
“We have to keep ostracising the criminals… . We can’t give them any breathing space. We have to speak with one voice as a nation and to let them know that there is no place where they will be safe,” he added.
On May 1, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to extend the SOE in St. James until August 2, 2018.
Mayor Davis said since the SOE, crime has taken a welcomed nosedive and that “the criminals are on the run”.
“If they are planning a ‘waiting out’ strategy, we have to show that our resolve is stronger than theirs. We can’t give them any opportunity to regroup… no opportunity to come back and set up shop,” the Mayor said.
“We have made some tremendous gains, which in no way we can allow to be reversed. That would be nothing short of a tragedy and something I am sure none of us want,” he emphasised.
For his part, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said everything should be done to send the criminals a message that their days of waging terror on the streets are over.
“We have to remain committed. We cannot allow the crime situation to get back out of control,” he said.
Newly elected President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Winston Lawson, said the Chamber welcomed the extension.
“The Chamber lauds the tremendous work of the joint security forces since the advent of the SOE and recognises the significant successes in reducing the crime levels,” he said.
“We hope the extension time is used to strategise in transitioning away from the SOE,” Mr. Lawson said.