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ZOSO Act to be reviewed

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act is to be reviewed.

The legislation, which was passed in 2017, is aimed at curbing crime through security force occupation of vulnerable communities. It also aims to preserve human rights during the period of occupation.

“We are coming up on the one-year mark for the passage of the Zones of Special Operations Bill. I think I will await the one-year mark and then come to the House [and] engage a process of review of the Bill,” Holness said.

“So, I am placing the Opposition on notice. Of course, we will share the proposed amendments long before the review process, so at that point, the amendment can be seamless in terms of how it is done,” he added.

The prime minister was speaking during the sitting of the House of Representatives yesterday.

According to specifications of the Act, the legislation can be reviewed from time to time by a committee of both Houses of Parliament appointed for the purpose.

It notes that the first review shall be conducted not later than three years after the date of declaration of the first zone.

The law gives the prime minister power to declare an area a Zone of Special Operations in order to tackle increased crime and volatility in a community. 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.

Mount Salem in St James was declared as the first Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in September, 2017, followed by Denham Town in October.

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