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Private sector, civil society groups call on PNP to support SOE extension

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Security personnel at an SOE checkpoint

KINGSTON, Jamaica— The private sector and civil society groups in Jamaica are urging the People’s National Party (PNP) to support the extension of the states of emergency (SOEs) which were imposed in seven parishes on November 15.

The House of Representatives debated and passed a motion on Tuesday to have the SOEs extended until January 14, 2023. The motion will be debated in the Senate on Friday.

The private sector and civil society groups disclosed in a release that they are in support of the extension for a number of reasons, including the reduction of murders in areas where SOEs were declared.

“Since the declaration of the SOEs on November 15, we have seen murders decline significantly nationally, and in the parishes where the SOEs were declared nine days ago,” the group said.

“Nationally, the data shows 63 murders being recorded the weeks before the declaration of the SOEs. Data shows that 12 murders were recorded in the first week of the declaration of SOEs. This is a significant decline,” it added.

“Since yesterday, within the parishes and specific zones where SOEs were declared murders have recorded a dip from 21 for the period November 7th-14th to 6 from November 15th-22nd,” it continued.

The group also recommended that the emergency measures be employed over the Christmas period as “a surge in criminal activity is the norm during this time as criminal elements look to rob, extort and murder, to increase ill-gotten gains.”

Other reasons cited by the private sector and civil society groups are that the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica Defense Force have recommended that the SOEs be extended, and that while the measure is an interim one that should not be used in ‘normal time’ they believe that the recent trends suggest that additional measures are needed to disrupt criminal networks.

As a result, the private sector and civil service groups said that political maturity is required to develop effective crime fighting strategies.

“The Private Sector and Civil Society encourage a unified approach to crime fighting, one that is without politicisation. The citizens of Jamaica deserve the right to life and to raise their families in a society that will allow them to do so without fear,” the statement said.

Some of the groups supporting this appeal include the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica Manufacturers & Exporters Association, and Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, among others.

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