Jamaica has declared a state of emergency to seize control of criminal gangs wreaking havoc in several communities across the island.
The emergency measure give police free rein to raid and arrest gang members without a court order. It applies to specific communities in Kingston and 14 others across the island, including Montego Bay, where several BPOs have set up their offices.
My job as your Prime Minister is to ensure that my people are safe, and I will not stop until that is achieved.
We will continue to be relentless on all fronts to combat this epidemic that we have of crime and violence. pic.twitter.com/Tae9LWi7er
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) December 7, 2022
Emergency measures to curb gang violence are not new in Jamaica. In spite of their history, they have yet to bring confidence to island inhabitants.
Jamaica has seen over 1,4000 homicides throughout the year. In contrast, the city Chicago (which has a similarly-sized population and is considered one of the least safe in the US) has registered 600.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness defended the emergency measures. In a televised address, he said that Jamaicans “have to hide under their beds, hide their daughters, can’t go to church and they see their sons and their boyfriends and husbands killed. That’s the reality.”