Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the Jamaica Defence Force National Reserve will be deployed across the island starting next Tuesday to support the police during the Christmas season.
Mr. Holness said the decision was made during Thursday's meeting of the National Security Council.
The Prime Minister said the National Reserve will assist the Jamaica Constabulary Force in curtailing criminal activities.
"We will make a full call out of the National Reserves to augment the force presence that we have in communities all across Jamaica. We have decided that we will be conducting even more dynamic operations right across Jamaica," he announced Friday while speaking at a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a police station in Mount Salem, St. James.
Mr. Holness said there will be heightened security presence in commercial centres during the Christmas period.
"We're not only going to be focusing on prevention of murders and gang warfare, but even though this will be a muted Christmas season in terms of the level of celebrations at Christmas, certainly we are still expecting that there will be significant commercial activity over and beyond what happened for the rest of the year. And so, we're going to ensure that spaces in which commercial activity takes place, that those spaces are also safe," he said.
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, who was also at the ground breaking ceremony, said a number of operations will be conducted across the island, starting this weekend, in response to the upsurge in criminal activities.
General Anderson has linked the spike to gangs. He said the police will focus on crime hotspots.
"I think it's important to note that certainly we are already in a process that has started, will continue through the weekend and certainly till the end of the year, where we will surge. We will be focusing on this violence as...it seems as though people want to carry us to conditions we had three years ago, which we’ll not allow, so responses will be such that we do not get back there," he warned.