Mon | Jul 13, 2020

Holness lashes Opposition over security criticisms

Published:Monday | November 18, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness greets Jamaica Labour supporters in Kingston Western last night - Rudolph Brown photo

Romario Scott, Gleaner Writer

Prime Minister Andrew Holness last night lashed the opposition People’s National Party while strongly defending his Administration’s national security and intelligence strategy that has come in for heavy criticism. 

Holness was speaking in Tivoli Gardens, Kingston Western at the party's final constituency conference before the Labourites' annual conference next Sunday.

He told the supporters, mostly clad in green, that the Opposition was being an obstacle to his Administration’s efforts to fight crime. 

The government has been criticised for overusing the state of public emergency (SOE) now covering five parishes and a police division in a sixth parish. 

But Holness said, record levels of criminal cases are now being brought before the courts while the police are pursuing ruthless gangs. 

"When the crime situation exploded and we proposed the state of public emergency, the Opposition criticised us," said Holness, adding that the Opposition claimed that the police were not doing adequate investigation.

But according to Holness, 13 gangs have been investigated, indicted and brought before the courts.

"How yuh think wi do that? In parallel with the strategy of the SOE, the plan was to intensify the capacity and work of the police force and we are seeing the result of it,” Holness said, as he maintained that communities in which the SOEs have been declared are seeing dramatic decreases in murder. 

The prime minister also used the opportunity to reflect, saying had the Government received the support of the Opposition between January and April, murders would have now been lower.

Homicides are marginally on the rise in comparison to last year, the latest crime statistics have shown. 

In the meantime, Holness has taken a swipe at the Opposition for the manner in which it has sought to obtain information about intelligence initiatives.

"Can you imagine you are trying to develop your intelligence capabilities and you don’t want the criminals dem know seh you know weh dem a do. Dem
same one come a Parliament trying to expose the capabilities of the security forces to the criminals?” Holness asserted.

The prime minister said he had been left to wonder in whose interest the opposition is operating. 

“Is it your interest, to keep you safe? Because every single measure that we bring that is effected to keep you safe and keep you alive, they oppose it and stop it,” Holness said. 

However, the Prime Minister said the government was being strategic. 

In the meantime, he has also accused the Opposition of seeking to influence the police in how they carry out their duties. 

“My advice to them: leave the government and the police alone and allow them to do their jobs,” Holness charged. 

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