In declaring that criminal organisations are adamantly seeking to run a parallel state, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has once again come out in defense of the recently passed Zones of Special Operations Bill, voicing confidence that crime and violence will be reduced in areas where dons and criminals thrive as a result of its implementation.
“The country does not need dons. You are no Robin Hoods, you are a pestilence on the people. The legislation is a signal that the Government, including the Opposition, is not prepared to cede one square inch of Jamaica to any criminal organisation. There is only one sovereign state in Jamaica and the Government will act to protect the sovereign state,” proclaimed Holness yesterday during his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Denham Town Restorative Justice Centre in West Kingston.
The legislation, which seeks to make some volatile areas special zones of operation in the fight against the high crime wave sweeping the nation, was approved in the Senate last Friday with 13 amendments following more than 12 hours of debate. On Tuesday, it was cleared in the House of Representatives and is now awaiting the governor general to affix his signature, which would then be gazetted.
Not Taking Away Rights
“The establishment of the bill is never about derogating or taking away the rights of the citizens. It’s about protecting, preserving and extending the rights of the law-abiding citizens of the country,” Holness noted.
He argued that while the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the citizens have not shared a great relationship, that would not stand as an excuse or reason for the Government to not take firm and decisive actions to reclaim and defend the Jamaican state.
“The Government must put in place the laws, regulations, oversight and the matching resources to ensure that the agency charged with the implementation of the zones of special operations, the JCF, are held accountable, that they are given key performance indicators, and that there is adequate oversight. And if they breach the law, you use the guidelines and the policies to take action. That is what the bill gives, it gives the scheme under which all of this can be done,” the prime minister said.
“The priority of the country must be restoring law, order, public safety and security for the citizens of the country, and therefore, my work is to direct the entire Government of Jamaica, so with every dollar we spend, it is directed in such a way that it supports the achievement of this major goal, the security of our people.”