Gov’t can’t respond to crime due to arguments about ‘rights’ — PM | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

A “national emergency”, that is how Prime Minister Andrew Holness has described the deadly violence gripping the old capital of Spanish Town, St Catherine.

In fact, the Prime Minister has lambasted some advocates of citizens’ rights who, he claims, have been erecting roadblocks in the efforts of the Government to respond to such crimes.

“I speak this way because I need to communicate to the Jamaicans who cannot understand why is it that the Government doesn’t respond,” Holness said while speaking at a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Management Council on Wednesday.

“We can’t respond because every move we make… some legal argument or some political argument is being made about the preservation of rights. The rights of who?” questioned a seemingly perturbed Holness.

His comments came hours after Tuesday’s gun attack that sent people scampering in the busy Spanish Town market district, resulting in two people being killed and the imposition of a 48-hour curfew in some communities to get a handle on the apparent spiralling crime.

Overall, it was a bloody day in or near Spanish Town Tuesday, with several other killings and shooting incidents.

According to Holness, the situation in Spanish Town “has the potential, if it is not dealt with strongly and firmly and immediately, to claim many more lives.

“The level of organised, criminal activity there is a national emergency. I do not have the luxury to be dithering on these matters anymore. We have to act, and we have to act to protect the innocent, law-abiding citizens,” he stated.

Up to November last year, the Government had used the state of emergency (SOE) as a crime-fighting tool, but Opposition senators voted against extending a motion to extend the measure.

On Wednesday, Holness returned to the ‘touchy’ subject of the resistance to the Government’s crime response and chastised those individuals who do not express concern for the rights of those most affected by crime.

“It is never a debate about the rights of the victims — those people who suffer, those people who are killed, those people who are injured in accidents,” he lamented.

“It is never a debate about those who have lost loved ones. What about their rights too?… Justice must be blind, but it cannot be deaf! It has to hear the cries of the victims, the people who are suffering,” Holness contended.

He also warned those individuals who champion the rights of others over the victims that Jamaica could arrive at a point where some citizens take justice into their own hands.

A situation such as this, he said, could result in anarchy in the country.

“There is no greater democratic than myself, but disorder will lead to anarchy, and where we are now with the average person in Jamaica, is if they can’t get law, they will settle for order [on their own],” the prime minister suggested.

“So those who believe that their very eloquent pronouncements about rights are finding favour with the masses of the people, what they are doing is alienating the people from the system of justice and law enforcement, and very soon you will see even more… but you know, let me not go down that road,” Holness said.

The prime minister said instead: “… Let us hope that we don’t see more occurrences of extra-judicial activities and jungle justice activities…”