(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Prime Minister Andrew Holness informed Parliament yesterday that the Government will be implementing more Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) shortly.
Holness made the announcement as he piloted resolutions extending the current ZOSOs in Denham Town, downtown Kingston; and Mount Salem, St James, for a further 60 days.
“We have reached a point where we believe that we have perfected the operations of the Zones of Special Operations, and in short order announcements will be made about the declaration of other communities,” Holness said.
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips welcomed the announcement without any objection, pointing out that his concern had always been why, given the success of the ZOSOs, the concept had not been utilised more in fighting crime.
Dr Phillips suggested that areas like Westmoreland, St Andrew South, St Catherine South, and Clarendon should have been designated ZOSOs, as they have been showing higher than the national norm in terms of crimes, including murders.
Holness, however, insisted that the pace of introducing new security measures has to be related to the extent to which the security activities can fit within the provisions of the Charter of Rights, and everything else that reflects on citizens’ democratic rights.
“One thing I am committed to as a Jamaican is to protect the rights of all citizens. It is not an easy job to manoeuvre within the parameters that are set to address these issues. But, one thing that we have committed to, as a Government, is that we must never be blemished by human rights abuses,” the prime minister said.
He said that the Government recognises that it has to deal with the mayhem in some communities, but also accepts that both the fight against crime and the protection of human rights work hand-in-hand.
“I just want to assure the nation that we are not taking our eyes off the challenge. We are going to do everything that we can. We recognise that there has to be greater collaboration, and we stand ready to do that, as a Government,” he added.