Sunday 16 June, 2019

Brown-Burke changes course; welcomes SOE despite protest threat

Angela Brown-Burke

Angela Brown-Burke

Having threatened months ago to take to the streets in protest if a state of emergency (SOE) was imposed in her St Andrew South West constituency, People’s National Party’s (PNP) Member of Parliament, Dr Angela Brown-Burke, has welcomed the emergency measure that was implemented in the St Andrew South Police Division on Sunday.

Some parts of her constituency, including Payne Land, Maxfield Avenue, Whitfield Town and Greenwich Town, fall within the boundaries of the SOE.

The St Andrew South Police Division has recorded more than 100 murders since the start of the year, and Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, said the emergency measure was aimed at rooting out gang and extortion activities from the affected communities.

Brown-Burke had used the platform of the House of Representatives in April to threaten to lead street protests if a SOE was imposed in the area. She argued then that priority should be given to bringing investments to the area, as well as social intervention programmes.

However, speaking on radio on Monday, Brown-Burke suggested that she had reflected on her statements, during which time she saw the efforts being made by the police and other groups, such as the church, to bring a sense of order to the police division.

In a statement on Monday, Brown-Burke called for social intervention initiatives to transform the affected communities.

“From my perspective, however, the state of public emergency can only be a short-term measure to be followed by a Zone of Special Operation (ZOSO), which has the explicit objectives of ‘clear, hold and build community’, which in effect became the working theme of ZOSO.

“I am, therefore, expecting to see a co-ordinated approach in providing the intervention that is needed, whether through work on the physical environment, skills and educational development or social services,” the Opposition MP said.

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