Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness declares a state of public emergency in St Catherine North due to due to a high rate of crime.

Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has announced a State of Public Emergency for the St. Catherine North Police Division due to a high rate of crime in the area.

In making the announcement on Sunday (March 18), Holness says the enhanced security measures will initially run for two weeks.

The declaration was made during a press conference at Jamaica House, citing rampant criminality and lawlessness in the division.

Holness said under the State of Public Emergency, members of the security forces will have enhanced powers to tackle crime.

However, he says these powers cannot be arbitrary and aren’t beyond review.

He also revealed there will be special focus on Spanish Town, Linstead and Bog Walk where there has been a spike in murders since the start of this year.

Meanwhile, Deputy Police Commissioner, Clifford Blake, says the high rate of murders and gang violence were the driving factors in recommending a State of Public Emergency for the St. Catherine North Police Division.

According to Acting Police Commissioner Clifford Blake, since the start of 2018, there have been 48 murders in the area.

He also said St Catherine North is the base for the Clansman Gang, one of the largest gangs operating in Jamaica.

He stated that the notorious gang has also been wreaking havoc on a number of other parishes.

This is the second State of Public Emergency declared since the start of the year, following a similar announcement for the Parish of St. James in January.

Along with the two States of Emergency, there are currently two Zones of Special Operations, ZOSOs, in Mount Salem, St. James and Denham Town in West Kingston.

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