PM wants state of emergency extended until November in St James

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has delayed a motion he was seeking to have approved in parliament on Tuesday for the state of public emergency in St James to be further extended until November 1 this year.

The state of emergency in St James was declared on January 18, in response to what was a rapidly rising murder rate. The rate has slowed significantly since the measure took effect.

The latest extension approved in parliament will end on August 2.

Prime Minister Holness noted that he was seeking another extension this early, because parliament is about to go on summer break.

He however discontinued and delayed the motion after Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips said his side is prepared to attend parliament during the summer break to debate the additional extension being sought.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Photo Credit:

Dr Phillips also noted that, at the time the Opposition was supporting the current extension, it noted that it would support another only if good reason is given.

He now wants more information and discussion before the Opposition agrees to another extension of the state of emergency in St James.

“We have asked in this House whether we could get data regarding the extent to which gangs are in fact being dismantled, what is the progress towards an end of this situation, what is the prognosis of the intelligence services to be shared with this House and the members of this House so we can make a decision…” Dr Phillips said, adding that he doesn’t want the Opposition to become either a rubber-stamp or obstructionist.

Prime Minister Holness, in the meantime, said there was no effort to conceal information from the Opposition. He also stated that the government was seeking to save parliamentary time in debating the extension for St James on Tuesday – the same time when he was doing so for the one underway in St Catherine North Police Division.

The Opposition supported the extension of the state of emergency in St Catherine North, noting that the current one will end next week.

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