Maintain vigilance, says PNP

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People’s National Party’s (PNP) spokesman on national security Fitz Jackson says while he welcomes the end of the states of emergency (SOEs) in several communities across the island, as per an act of Parliament, he is calling on the security forces to optimise their levels of engagement in the affected communities to ensure the continuing security and protection of citizens.

According to Jackson, it is incumbent on the security forces to maintain a strong level of vigilance in these communities.

He said many of the communities which were placed under the states of emergency were already pre-disposed to gang warfare, violent activities, and varying levels of criminality.

“It is for this reason that the commissioner of police, the police high command, and the chief of defence staff must ensure that these communities continue to benefit from the strategic deployment and presence of security personnel,” Jackson said in news release.

He also said there are elements within these communities who may seek to exploit the lifting of the SOEs to prey on citizens and disrupt the efforts for peace.

Unfortunately, during the life of the states of emergency, we have witnessed many instances of violent crimes taking place even within the precincts of the emergency measures, Jackson lamented.

“It is critical in this period of a general election that our citizens are allowed the freedom to express themselves and maintain their confidence in the democratic process of casting their votes without fear of intimidation or outright attacks,” he stated.

“We have witnessed in the past, episodes of political intimidation and coercion affecting an entire community. The security forces must not participate or allow anyone or group of individuals to threaten the democratic right of our citizens,” he said.

“The end of these extraordinary measures brought on by the states of emergency does not mean the end of securing and protecting our citizens. In fact, the Jamaican State should do more now to reassure the citizenry of its capacity to maintain law and order, and creating an environment for peaceful coexistence among residents and communities,” Jackson said.

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