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 issues surrounding 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.
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 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,” the statement added.