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PNP says crime situation could have been addressed sooner

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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ST ANDREW, Jamaica — People's National Party (PNP) President, Dr Peter Phillips, in his post retreat press conference today, reiterated his party's support of the state of public emergency declared in St James but pointed out that the crime situation could have been dealt with sooner.

Phillips, who was speaking at his party's Old Hope Road headquarters in St Andrew, argued that earlier actions focused on the problems that had emerged for many months in St James would possibly have prevented the parish from reaching that point, which “obviously caused tensions for the tourism industry, has created inconvenience for many persons there and has affected the country's reputation generally”.

The Opposition leader also expressed his view that there needs to be some institutional strengthening surrounding the administration of the state of emergency, in particular a civilian oversight mechanism to ensure that the rights of detainees will not be trampled upon and that the due process of law is upheld at all times.

“We have received public reports from the Cornwall Bar Association for example, which have suggested that some of the detainees are not being granted access to legal representation and that the conditions leave something to be desired.

"Even as we do our utmost as a country to confront the scourge of criminality we must remember always the rights of the innocent need to be protected and that there is a due process of law to be upheld at all times,” said Phillips.

The security forces yesterday reported that approximately 200 people have been arrested since the state of emergency was declared last Thursday with operations having been conducted in the communities of Flanker, Norwood, Glendevon, Salt Spring and several other communities throughout the parish.

Last year some 355 murders were recorded for the parish.

Moya Hinds

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