State of emergency Downtown – 3 guns found; businesses closing early

People in and around the island’s capital woke up Sunday morning (September 23) to a state of public emergency, which already sparked a notice for businesses to close early, and resulted in the seizure of three guns.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during a press briefing at his offices Sunday, declared that the state of emergency will initially last for 14 days.

It affects sections of Denham Town, Greenwich Town, Hannah Town, Jones Town, Tivoli Gardens, Central Downtown (market and business districts), Whitfield Town, and Trench Town (Rose Town and Arnett Gardens).

On the map below, the thick black line shows the boundaries:

“The state of emergency is not used as a knee-jerk response,” said Prime Minister Holness, flanked by security minister Dr Horace Chang, Commissioner of Police Antony Anderson, and head of the Jamaica Defence Force Major General Rocky Meade.

The prime minister described the state of emergency as ‘necessary’; the police commissioner explained why.

“For some time, these areas and these parts of the division [under the state of emergency] have been exposed to gang violence, significant extortion and general lawlessness,” said Commissioner Anderson.

Within hours of the state of emergency, the security forces found three pistols and thirty-five 9 millimetre rounds of ammunition during an operation at Drecketts Place, Kingston 14.

Left to right: Prime Minister Andrew Holness, flanked by security minister Dr Horace Chang, Commissioner of Police Antony Anderson, and head of the Jamaica Defence Force Major General Rocky Meade.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said no one has been arrested for the the Bryco .22 pistol and two Beretta 9 millimetre pistols.

They were found during a search of several premises, the JCF added.

It urged people visiting or living in areas under the state of emergency to ‘always have a valid form of identification when leaving home’.

The JCF, in the meantime, announced that business operators in communities under the state of emergency should close their operations earlier than usual of face possible prosecution.

The closing hours announced are:

The state of emergency now in parts of Kingston and St Andrew is the third declared since the start of the year, with the pre-existing ones being in St James as well as the St Catherine North Police Division.

The security forces used the opportunity to urge citizens to provide information regarding gangs and gang activity, illegal guns and ammunition, wanted persons and persons of interest, and any other information of a security nature. They should call the JDF Tip HotLine (876-837-8888).


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