Jamaica’s House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a further 60-day extension of the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in seven areas across Jamaica.
Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang, who moved the resolutions for the extensions, said all communities recorded reductions in all major crimes, including murder, as of October 13, 2022, for the period prior to and during the declaration of the respective ZOSOs.
He noted that the reductions were Mount Salem, 59 percent; Denham Town, 32 percent; August Town, 47 percent; Greenwich Town, 30 percent; Norwood, 63 percent; Parade Gardens, 94 percent; and Savanna-la-Mar, 90 percent.
Dr. Chang said notwithstanding the progress made so far in the declared Zones, the efforts must be continued at this stage for the realization of the desired outcomes.
“These continuous improvement activities require further focused commitment and resources for immediate and long-term gains in order to ensure impact and sustainability.
“Over the next 60 days, the respective Social Intervention Committees (SICs) will continue to drive the process on the ground to ensure irreversible transformation in these communities,” he said.
The National Security Minister said that in the coming months, an in-depth assessment of the entire Zones of Special Operations program would be undertaken.
“This will underpin future adjustments to the Zones, which may include the broadening of the boundaries in some cases as we move to the sustainable phase of the Zones currently in operation,” he said.
He assured the residents of vulnerable communities that the Government is sensitive to the level of violence, informality, and social decay that has taken hold in their communities over the years.
“The Zone of Special Operations is but one of the tools that we are utilizing to provide increased safety and security to you and your families. As we implement Plan Secure Jamaica, the Government is unapologetic about utilizing all available security measures and tools to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of the people of Jamaica,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding, said the Opposition supported the use of ZOSOs, noting that “we’d like to see them deployed actually more extensively.”