Jamaica News: The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Denham Town, Kingston, and Mount Salem, St. James, will be extended by a further 60 days to October 19, 2019 and November 7, 2019, respectively.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 23), approved two Resolutions for the extensions, which were moved by National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang.
In his address, Dr. Chang noted that the declaration of the Mount Salem and the Denham Town ZOSOs was a breakthrough initiative in Jamaica’s history.
He pointed out that the experience has, so far, produced some lessons and has proven its worth at various levels.
“The partnership between the citizens and the Security Forces is also changing, with the presence of the Joint Force within the Zone, and is yielding positive results,” Dr. Chang said.
A Zone of Special Operations was declared for the community of Denham Town from October 7, 2017 for a period of 60 days. The current period constitutes the 10th period of extension, which is slated to expire on August 19, 2019.
“The community of Denham Town was plagued with increased gang-related violence. Since the declaration of the Zone of Special Operations, security forces have been allowed to conduct strategic operations designed to target the violence producers, thereby facilitating the conditions for social intervention and economic development,” Dr. Chang said.
The Zone of Special Operations was declared for the community of Mount Salem with effect from September 1, 2017. The current period constitutes the 11th period of extension, which is slated to expire on September 7, 2019.
“Prior to the implementation of the Zone of Special Operations, the Mount Salem community had been plagued with increased gang-related violence and criminal activities among several gangs operating from communities within the Division,” Dr. Chang said.
He noted that conflict among gangs was attributed to the quest for turf, control and the disproportionate allocation of illegal proceeds from lottery scamming and other illicit activities.
The Minister informed that over the period September 1, 2017 to July 17, 2019, the community experienced no murders or shootings.
He noted that the following objectives will remain the focus of the operations: create an environment for continued social intervention; eradicate the threat to democratic governance posed by organised crime; methodically conduct searches for arms and ammunition; create the condition for building positive relations and trust between the citizen and the police; re-establish legitimate community structure; and restore the confidence of citizens, visitors, and investors, so that the country can experience economic growth and prosperity.
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. 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
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