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Private sector groups call for review of decision to end SOEs

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Three private sector groups are calling for an urgent meeting with the leadership of both the Government and the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), following last night's vote against the extension of the sates of public emergency (SOEs) in St James, St Catherine North and sections of the Corporate Area.

The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), in a joint statement today, said they wished to meet with both parties prior to the dates of expiration of the SOEs.

The meeting would seek to address concerns and review the issuessurrounding the decision to end the states of public emergency.

With the Opposition voting against the extension, it means that the St James SOE will terminate on January 31, 2019, while the emergency powers will cease to apply for St Catherine North on January 2 and sections of the Corporate Area on January 7.Read more

The three private sector groups said they are of the view that the SOE, as one of the anti-crime initiatives, has been effective in reducing the level of crime in the areas implemented; for example, in St James where there has been a 72 per cent reduction in murder and a 63 per cent reduction in shootings.

"We note the concerns regarding the treatment of detainees and the broader human rights issues. However, at the same time, we recognise that crime is one of the biggest infringements on the very rights we are trying to protect. So, as we seek to protect the lives and rights ofallour citizens, it is important that we assess the initiatives that are put in place to ensure that we reap the desired results and explore ways to balance the scale between competing rights," the statement added.


See full statement below:

The private sector and the people of Jamaica are aware of the ferocious impact of crime, violence and corruption on the Jamaican people and economy. It is based on this stark reality that we seek to address the impasse that now faces our Government and Opposition on the State of Emergency.

It is the view of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) that the State of Emergency as one of the anti-crime initiatives has been effective in reducing the level of crime in the areas implemented; for example, in St James where there has been a 72 per cent reduction in murder and a 63 per cent reduction in shootings.

We note the concerns regarding the treatment of detainees and the broader human rights issues. However, at the same time, we recognise that crime is one of the biggest infringements on the very rights we are trying to protect. So, as we seek to protect the lives and rights of all our citizens, it is important that we assess the initiatives that are put in place to ensure that we reap the desired results and explore ways to balance the scale between competing rights.

As such, the JMEA, PSOJ and JCC are calling for an urgent meeting with the leadership of both the Government and the Opposition, with a view to address concerns and review the issuessurrounding the decision, prior to the dates of expiration of the State of Emergency.

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