Jamaica News: The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Mount Salem, St James and Denham Town in West Kingston will be extended by a further 60 days.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 12) approved two Resolutions for the extensions, which were moved by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
This is the fifth extension for the Mount Salem Zone, the first to become operational on September 1, 2017, while it will be the fourth for Denham Town.
Prime Minister Holness said that the extensions are necessary, as the progress made in the two communities must be allowed to continue.
He noted that in Denham Town, which was declared as the second ZOSO in October 2017, the joint security forces have, to a significant extent, maintained security within the boundaries of the community.
He said there have been a few incidents, “which have reminded us that the focus on this community must continue, so as to ensure that it would never return to the state prior to the establishment of the Zone”.
Prime Minister Holness said that as the community continues to be guided through the ‘build phase’, the joint force will maintain the security of the Zone in order to ensure that a suite of social-intervention programmes can be effectively and safely implemented to benefit the residents.
For Mount Salem, Prime Minster Holness noted that implementation of the ZOSO has been seen as a success by the residents, “who have been the largest supporter of the intervention”.
“Nevertheless, there is continued work that must take place. A measure of progress and sustainability of the strategic intent of the Zone was always meant to ensure that the community is in charge of its peace. To a significant extent, much has been achieved in this mission,” he noted.
He added that the process of citizen empowerment is ongoing and has received the support of the residents, who are fully aware that there is no restriction on their rights and freedoms in the space.
“In fact, it is the citizens themselves, who have been the main drivers of the transformational processes. While this takes place, the presence of the security forces continues to be necessary to ensure an enabling environment,” the Prime Minister said.
The Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act gives the Prime Minister power to declare an area a ZOSO in order to tackle increased crime and volatility and implement social-intervention measures. This is in consultation with the National Security Council.
The Zone can only be established after the Police Commissioner and the Chief of Defence Staff make a request for such a declaration in writing to the Prime Minister.
Source: JIS News