States of public emergency (SOEs) are back.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement of two separate SOEs on Tuesday morning during a Jamaica House media briefing.
This time around, the parish of St Ann has been added to SOEs that were again declared for specified areas of Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine and Clarendon.
The other SOE is in effect for the tri-parish area of Westmoreland, St James and Hanover.
Holness told the media briefing that since the last SOEs lapsed on November 29 after two weeks because of a lack of support from the parliamentary Opposition, there has been an uptick in criminal activities.
“The Government, after careful consideration, on the advice of the security chiefs decided to advise the Governor General that it was necessary and indeed appropriate to declare states of public emergency in these areas,” Holness said.
“Since the end of the last states of emergency we have seen unfortunately, an increase in criminal activities in these areas and indeed a treat to property and in some instances public disorder” he added.
The prime minister also noted the approach of the Christmas season, the first since the ending of the provisions of the Disaster Risk Management Act during the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the country was seeing an increase in activities, including in entertainment and commercial activities “and we are already seeing a demand, a stretch on the resources that we have to guarantee our citizens that they will be able to go about their business in a safe and secure manner”.