Black Immigrant Daily News
The parliamentary caucus of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is being taken to task by Young Jamaica, the youth arm of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), for voting against extending the states of emergency (SOEs) that were declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness for seven parishes on November 15.
Young Jamaica, in a statement on Friday evening, accused the PNP of “denying the Jamaican people the safety and security provided by the most effective crime-fighting tool deployed by the Government in history.”
It noted that all eight Opposition senators followed their colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting ‘no’.
“The PNP’s action demonstrates that they are wholly tone deaf to pleas and demands of civil society, private sector businesses, pundits, the security forces and, most importantly, the people of Jamaica,” Young Jamaica stated.
After securing the required two-thirds majority vote that was needed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday to extend the emergency measure until January 14, as the prime minister intended, the Government needed the support of at least a single Opposition senator to achieve the two-thirds threshold in the Upper House, which is made up of 13 Government and eight Opposition senators.
Young Jamaica pointed to recent statistics which it said have shown that upon the SOE declaration during the week of November 15, Jamaica experienced the most sustained reduction in murders in those areas since 2015.
“Furthermore, past utilisation of the emergency powers also resulted in similar decreases while the measures were in effect. The Mark Golding-led PNP’s arguments that the measures are ineffective fly in the face of these facts,” Young Jamaica argued.
It then launched into the PNP, stating that “The parliamentary voting record of Opposition members on the issue of security and public order begs the question – is Mark Golding and the PNP willing to put the best interest of all Jamaicans over sheer politicking to oppose for opposing sake?”
The JLP youth arm also pointed to what it called the “lacklustre years of governance” by successive PNP administrations which it said had “consistently defunded the security forces and hampered their crime-fighting ability, which led to the rampant proliferation of gangs, guns, violence and a 190 per cent increase in the murder rate between 1990 to 2007.
“It must be said to the PNP that to reject the SOE is to endanger the lives and livelihoods of all Jamaicans – young and old, rich and power, male and female. To play politics while many communities are under siege by criminal elements is inexcusable, and must be condemned,” said Young Jamaica President, Rohan Walsh.