Persons travelling from rural parishes into Kinston and St. Andrew will have checkpoints to contend with as another State of Public Emergency (SOPE) has yet been declared in Jamaica, this time in the South St. Andrew Police Division.
The declaration was made at a press conference at Jamaica House by Prime Minister Andrew Holness this morning(July 7).
The Prime Minister told the media that crime has been getting out of hand in the area. He said the high level of violent crime being experienced in the St. Andrew South Division, particularly over the past two months, is of a scope and of a nature that it greatly threatened the stability of the city.
The South St. Andrew Police Division spans some of the Prime minister’s own West Central St. Andrew constituency communities, such as Olympic Gardens.
The other communities within the area of the SOPE, include Ferry, Duhaney Park, Patrick City, Marverley, Drewsland, Waterhouse, Waltham Gardens, Seaview Gardens, Majesty Gardens, Greenwich Town, Maxfield Park, Riverton Meadows and other troubled areas.
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson in his address, said the state of emergency was necessary as it is the most effective medium proven to reduce violent crimes so far. He also argued that it allows the security forces to utilize their resources in a more effective manner.
“Murders in this division have increased by 19 percent while shooting incidents by over 40 percent over 2018. The gang warfare has restricted the free movement of citizens and has caused the disruption of livelihoods in the section of the division. The fear that is associated with this level of violence has undermined the daily lives of these communities and the residents,” the former army chief said.
“As a consequence and as a result of consultation with the Chief of Defence Staff, we have requested that a State of Public Emergency be declared in the St. Andrew South Police Division. As has been demonstrated through previous and current state of Emergency, this methodology has been very effective in reducing violent crimes,” the Major General added.
Chief of Defence Staff at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade said troops and police officers were deployed at dawn on Sunday morning to marshall the St. Andrew South Division.