Many communities in Jamaica could have been declared Special Operations Areas (ZOSO) and other SOPEs if the security forces had had more resources, including soldiers on the ground, the Parliament’s Home and Foreign Affairs Committee She was said yesterday.
The heads of the island’s Public Security Service, Major General Rocky Meade, Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Police Commissioner Major General Anthony Anderson, as well as staff from the Department of Homeland Security, responded to the committee’s questions, and provided updates on the security situation in the country. They also touched on the new SOPE announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, as Secretary of Defense, on Sunday.
The announcement was made on the advice of both the CDS and the Police Commissioner.
It was a second round of questions from committee member Horace Daly that triggered the response from the army chief that more Jamaica would be under enhanced security operations if the entities had the resources.
“When you look at the country, if we have enough resources, we can do several more communities,” Mead said.
Daly also asked both men if there was any fact that a “jailbreak” or attempted capture from the Horizon Remand Center last weekend influenced their decision to advise the Prime Minister on the latest SOPE announcement, which covers the St Andrew South, Kingston Western region. . and Kingston Central Police Departments.
Meade explained that the current crime situation requires that a number of factors be taken into account, and given the seriousness of SOPEs, in particular, it cannot be declared an indirect reaction.
Other target areas
He continued: “There are many areas that, based on our assessment, could use our intervention, and we use some other factors that would prefer not to be discussed, that separate the sequence. And it’s not something that happened the day, or the week before at a particular event. We already have a sense of communities that need to intervene.
On his part, the Police Commissioner said that the areas under enhanced security measures were found to be highly connected to the communities that are currently under security operations.
“There are important issues with links that were put into the public mix, and why we did what we did,” he said.
Earlier in his comments, Anderson was more outspoken about the links. He said that the communities in the corporate zone that are now under a security crackdown, have long seen high numbers of shootings and killings, especially if the areas are taken individually.
“From an intelligence perspective, there are a number of links between a number of these areas and other challenging areas. There are links with St. Catherine, and St. James, in the East (Kingston), Clarendon. There are all kinds of connections. So, in going after our operations and making these decisions. There is a lot of information that goes beyond just the rate of killings or shootings, but killings and shootings are important in those areas,” Anderson said.
He said there are a few parishes in which a state of emergency will not be declared.
Currently, ZOSOs operate in two areas, and SOPEs in three areas.