02 Jul PHILLIPS AND THE PNP AMEND THE SPECIAL ZONES BILL TO PROTECT THE JAMAICAN PEOPLE
On June 28, 2017, the PNP Opposition, led by Dr. Peter Phillips, successfully amended the JLP Government’s crime bill to protect the Jamaican people from partisan political control of the security forces in the proposed Zones of Special Operations law.
In an impassioned exchange, Peter Phillips explained to PM Holness that the bill he proposed gives him as Prime Minister the authority “to declare any geographically defined area… a zone of special operations”. Phillips went on to explain that the country has self-consciously and deliberately moved away from giving the political directorate any role in operational decisions concerning the security forces.
As a result of the PNP’s amendment, it is the security forces and not Prime Minister Holness, who will declare a zone of special operations in the fight against crime.
Two other fundamental amendments secured by the PNP members of the Joint Select Committee, MPs Peter Bunting, Morais Guy and Fitz Jackson and Senator Mark Golding were to ensure that the bill included:
Provisions and controls to protect the rights of citizens who are caught up in a zone of special operations.
Giving persons in the Zones of Special Operations the ability to appeal the loss of property and liberty via Lay Magistrates
While the amendments improved the bill, the PNP still had reservations about its effectiveness due to the lack of adequate resources for equipping the police and well-needed social intervention. Team PNP will remain vigilant in its support for effective crime fighting while protecting the rights of Jamaicans, especially the vulnerable.
Watch Youtube Clip of Gen Sec Robinson and Spokesperson on National Security Bunting speak to the gains in amendments. https://youtu.be/l0av2VArSbs