Even state of emergency will not deter some criminals, PM cautions

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has urged persons within the two states of public emergency to avoid becoming complacent, adding that some criminals are dangerous enough to strike regardless of the security measure in place.

He made the appeal while noting that a Jamaica Defence Force soldier, David Howard, was shot dead on July 10 while off duty in the Linstead area of the St Catherine North Police Division.

That division, along with the entire parish of St James, has been under respective states of emergency for months.

Prime Minister Holness, during a sitting of the House of Representatives yesterday, said: “There are lessons to be learnt from this [murder] that, even within the state of emergency, we should never be lulled into feeling that the criminals will not seek to commit their gruesome acts.

“Even the presence of the state of emergency will not deter some of our criminals…” added the prime minister.

He further stated that parliamentarians from both sides of the House should be prepared for the long fight against criminals.

“As we sit in this House and we look at the numbers [of murder] going down, I want every member to appreciate that the threat still exists.

“Regardless of the other issues that were raised about closing times [for businesses] and traffic inconvenience [caused by the states of emergency], if we are to make a serious impact on crime, we have to break our minds towards a long-term strategy…” Prime Minister Holness further said.

He continued: “I urge members [of parliament] to focus our minds on staying the long game because the criminals feel that, like everything else that we have done as government, we don’t have the discipline and the commitment to stay the long game.”

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