By: Chronicle Reporter,
The State of Emergency in Jamaica has been lifted after the island’s government failed to secure a majority vote in Parliament on Tuesday night, even with a number of the 30 opposition MPs being absent.
The pleas of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness fell on deaf opposition ears, despite a reported 20% reduction in murders across since the measure was put in place.
“We need more time,” Holness told Parliament. “We cannot give up the strategic advantage to say when.”
Caribbean Chronicle understands that the State of Emergency, which was in place in three crime hotspots including Montego Bay, would expire in January 2019. But its there was agreement to extend the island’s Zones of Special Operations (ZoSOs) in St. James, Denham Town and Mount Salem.
The SoE blockage was successfully staged by the People’s National Party (PNP).
Government needed 42 votes in favor of the extension of the SoE in St. James, Kingston and St. Catherine North. It received the 33 from all of its own MPs but that was challenged by the 21 opposition MPs who said no to the 90-day extension in St. James, and another 20 MPs who voted against extending the SoE in the other two parishes.
Jamaica has been in a State of Emergency since January 2018. This began in St. James and will mark one full year when it is dissolves in January 2019. The SoE begin in the summer of 2018 for the other two parishes.
Opposition leader Dr. Peter Phillips said the SoEs were “not vital” and that the island did not “need” to be in that constant state – citing it could possibly be unconstitutional. It has been reported that only 4% of the nearly 4000 people arrested since January were charged with serious crimes.