Monday 24 February, 2020

Committee formed to deal with aftermath of SoE in St Catherine

Members of the security forces conduct spot checks in the St Catherine North police division during the state of emergency.

Members of the security forces conduct spot checks in the St Catherine North police division during the state of emergency.

Dennis Robotham, president of the St Catherine Chamber of Commerce, has said that a stakeholder working group has been formed in the St Catherine North police division in an effort to sustain the positive results of the state of public emergency in the area.

"The committee will have all the stakeholders form the various sectors and communities and will meet either weekly or bi-weekly to chart the way forward in terms of social interventions," Robotham told Loop Jamaica reporter Claude Mills. 

The group, comprising members of the security forces, political representatives, business leaders, community leaders and the church, was formed at a meeting of stakeholders organised by the joint security forces with responsibility for the state of emergency last week Thursday.

The meeting, which took place at Church of God of Prophecy Convention Centre on Old Harbour Road was held to facilitate discussion and collaboration among the various interests within the division on a plan to maintain the gains once the state of emergency ends.

"It was a very promising meeting in technical terms in that it looked at a number of different angles. Most of the people, 99.9 per cent of those who attended loved how the security officers were conducting themselves," he said. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Clifford Blake, who was the main presenter, implored individuals to participate in the discussions with solutions in mind to improve the division's outlook.

He noted that while the gains of the state of emergency were good, the sustainable peace needed to be maintained and that the next two months were critical in arriving at solutions to achieve a continuation of the gains.

Commanding officer of the St Catherine North Division, Senior Superintendent of Police Beau Rigabie was also present. He pointed out that much of the gang-related crime in the division is driven by extortion and that when that source of revenue is removed, it would leave a void that needs to be filled with legal sources of income.

“I want them to look also at the various agencies that can come in and give alternatives to these persons, because whilst we remove one avenue of revenue, there will be the need to replace it. So, I am hoping that this committee will be looking towards the various alternatives to the revenue that they normally have,” he said.

The state of public emergency in the St Catherine North police division began on March 18 for an initial two weeks. It has since been extended to July.

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