Senate approves extending St James State of Public Emergency

October 19, 2018
A soldier searches a passenger at a vehicle checkpoint in St James on January 26 during the state of public emergency.

The Senate today approved the Emergency Powers (Continuance) (No. 4) Resolution 2018, which will extend the State of Public Emergency (SOE) in the parish of St James until January 31, 2019.
Seventeen members of the Senate voted in favour of the Motion. There was one abstention, while three members were absent.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade,  Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, noted that the extension seeks to secure the gains made and ensure their sustainability.
"We are seeking to remove the threat to public safety. We still have work to do, but the security forces need our support, the people of St. James need our support, and we must give it to them," she said.
Johnson Smith noted that between January 1, 2018, when the SOE was declared, and October 15, the St James Police Division accounted for 79 murders and 88 shooting incidents.
This represents a 67. 2 per cent decline in murders and a 53.4 per cent reduction in shootings when compared to the similar period in 2017.

She noted that in 2017, the percentage of cases cleared out of the reported cases of murder was approximately 31.7 per cent, and in 2018 as at October 12, approximately 70 per cent of cases have been cleared.