Once more, Jamaicans debate whether states of emergency are an effective crime-fighting tool or a band aid · Global Voices

On the morning of Sunday, November 14, Jamaicans were surprised with the news that Prime Minister Andrew Holness would be holding a press briefing on “matters of national importance.” Some media houses were quick to speculate that the focus would be on crime.

Holness’ announced that states of public emergency had been imposed that morning in seven police divisions, including in Montego Bay and two other parishes in the west of the island, and four police divisions in the capital, Kingston. The restrictions cover approximately one-third of the country and will remain in force for two weeks, after which time they will have to be reviewed by parliament.

States of emergency in Jamaica are nothing new. Between 1962, when the country became independent from Britain, and January 2018, the government imposed six major states of emergency. Two of the six were in response to natural disasters, the others to crime.

In April 2019, states of emergency were declared once again for the same three western parishes currently under lockdown but were lifted ahead of the country’s 2020 general elections.

At the briefing, the prime minister noted that murder rates in the affected areas had increased between 16 and 57 per cent this year. Major Antony Anderson, the commissioner of police, added that as of November 12, Jamaica had recorded 1,240 murders for 2021, COVID-19 curfews and lockdowns notwithstanding. The four Kingston divisions accounted for 32 per cent of that figure, with 392 murders. 272 people had been killed in the three western parishes, making up 22 per cent. Anderson stressed that these numbers did not include the 11 murders that had taken place in the previous 24 hours, nine of them in areas that had been placed under states of emergency. Anderson also noted that a surge in gang-related murders and reprisal killings, fueled by extortion, scamming, and the guns for drugs trade with Haiti, accounted for a little over 70 per cent of homicides…

Source: Once more, Jamaicans debate whether states of emergency are an effective crime-fighting tool or a band aid · Global Voices

3 thoughts on “Once more, Jamaicans debate whether states of emergency are an effective crime-fighting tool or a band aid · Global Voices”

  1. Bandaid, obviously. Until we have a global long-term plan, or at least some set of long term plans on offer, to deal with these crises, every effort will merely be an uncoordinated bandaid.

    One possible offer of a long term plan is that of “Do Better, Baby Floors/Baby Acres”.

    Shira

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