Sup­port grow­ing for lim­ited STATE OF EMER­GENCY

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Clau­dia Gardner Gleaner Writer WEST­ERN BU­REAU:

CHARLES SIN­CLAIR, coun­cil­lor for the Flankers di­vi­sion, is gain­ing sup­port for his calls for a lim­ited state of emer­gency in sec­tions of Mon­tego Bay in light of the slew of gun killings and shoot­ings that have gripped the city.

Dur­ing a Gleaner Ed­i­tors’ Fo­rum in Mon­tego Bay, St James, sev­eral stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing God­frey Dyer, chair­man of the Tourism En­hance­ment Fund (TEF), said all op­tions for main­tain­ing or­der seem to have been ex­hausted and that de­spite ob­jec­tions from some tourism stake­hold­ers, a state of emer­gency seems to be the only way to suppress the mur­ders.

“I would pre­fer to see a lim­ited state of emer­gency than see 15 peo­ple be­ing killed in one week. Which is the lesser of the two evils? I, too, sup­port a lim­ited state of emer­gency,” Dyer stressed.

“I think be­cause of the last one we had in 2010, ev­ery­body thinks [that] with a state of emer­gency, the same will oc­cur, and that is not nec­es­sar­ily so. We have had many states of emer­gency with­out any ma­jor alarm ... . ”

“Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber are slow months. And we should have done it to fall within this pe­riod to give the po­lice the op­por­tu­nity to do the searches. You would have cleaned up ev­ery­thing and been ready for your win­ter (tourist) sea­son. And again, you can state where the state of emer­gency is. It does not have

to be in the ho­tel ar­eas. Fif­teen peo­ple killed in one week is also turn­ing off peo­ple,” he added.

CEO of Global Out­sourc­ing So­lu­tions Davon Crump said some in­vestors in the BPO sec­tor had de­layed their site vis­its to Mon­tego Bay be­cause of the up­surge in mur­ders.

“If we should send a mes­sage to our part­ners in the US and Canada that we are do­ing a lim­ited state of emer­gency to solve the prob­lem, that would send a bet­ter mes­sage. The re­al­ity of it is that they read the news­pa­pers ev­ery day. They see the head­lines here, and that’s the rea­son they won’t want to come. I didn’t have to tell my clients what is hap­pen­ing here ... . In any case, there are travel ad­vi­sories on most of the US and Cana­dian web­sites,” Crump said.

Chair­man of the Peace Man­age­ment Ini­tia­tive the Rev­erend Ever­ton Jack­son said a lim­ited state of emer­gency is worth con­sid­er­ing at this time.

“The fact of the mat­ter is that we all know that a state of emer­gency is never ever the first op­tion to crime fight­ing ... . Hav­ing lost 200 lives in this parish at this time and giv­ing con­sid­er­a­tion to the fact that there are some per­sons who are nurs­ing gun­shot wounds and the cli­mate of fear that has been cre­ated, a state of emer­gency must be seen as a way to be con­sid­ered to as­sist in fight­ing the crime sit­u­a­tion that we are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing,” Jack­son said.

The men’s com­ments came af­ter Sin­clair in­di­cated that it was the stigma as­so­ci­ated with states of emer­gency why the au­thor­i­ties and some stake­hold­ers were wary. He said when he first called for a state of emer­gency sev­eral weeks ago, the idea was to give lawen­force­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions the au­thor­ity to con­duct in­tel­li­gence-driven, de­tailed, in­tense searches to re­cover guns.

“Many peo­ple panic be­cause of the term ‘state of emer­gency’, and prob­a­bly, (through) look­ing at the his­tory of Ja­maican states of emer­gency, we have had in 1976 and in 2010 in Tivoli, but we have [also] had many other states of emer­gency in Ja­maica. For ex­am­ple, ev­ery time we have a hur­ri­cane, we have a state of emer­gency. All a state of emer­gency does is that it gives law en­force­ment greater au­thor­ity to do cer­tain things,” Sin­clair stated.

“We have heard per­sons say ‘do cur­fews’ and ‘put more po­lice there’, but look at the Con­stab­u­lary Force Act, the act that per­mits cur­fews to be im­posed. Cur­fews can only last for 48 hours. It has a lim­i­ta­tion in time, but the po­lice ac­tion may re­quire an in­tense search that may need to take more than 48 hours,” he added.

JER­MAINE BARN­ABY/FREELANCEPHOTOGRAPHER

Men be­ing searched by the po­lice dur­ing a se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion in Mon­tego Bay, St James, yes­ter­day.

SIN­CLAIR

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