Saturday 22 February, 2020

MoBay chamber of commerce welcomes SOE

Soldiers deployed in Westmoreland on Tuesday night.

Soldiers deployed in Westmoreland on Tuesday night.

The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) has welcomed the return of a state of emergency to the parish of St James.

"The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry has found the unequivocal action taken by the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) to cauterise what has been a significantly worrying trend of high crime in St James, as necessary," a release from the chamber on Tuesday stated.

The release said the MBCCI is in full support of the measure, given the spike in murders in the parish following the end of the previous year-long state of emergency in January of this year.

"The move is in keeping with repeated calls from the chamber to the GOJ and the security forces to act with haste to put an end to the spiralling criminality and loss of lives in the parish.

“The state of emergency is a tool (that was) recently employed in the parish, (which) resulted in vast improvements in murder and (other serious) crime numbers in general," the release added.

There was also a call for consideration to be given to the opening hours of businesses in the parish during the SOE.

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"The chamber recognises accompanying challenges of the state of emergency for some of our members and the business community with respect to constrained business opening hours. We are of the view that the security forces are now well up the curve with this tool, and consideration should be made for more relaxed opening hours for businesses. We appeal for due consideration of this," the statement said.

"Given the experiences and takeaways of the SOE of 2018, the chamber additionally appeals that the opportunity is utilised to not only yet again save hundreds of lives, but to improve on prior identified shortcomings and concerns of (the) past SOE."

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