Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, Chief of Defence Staff for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), has revealed that the army is far advanced in its planning for the government's promised declaration of additional communities as Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO).
This came via a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, following a recent meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) on measures being implemented to create greater public safety and enhance public order.
General Meade and Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson both provided reports on activities related to increased deployment of soldiers to bolster the efforts of the police in security operations.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness told Parliament last week that his administration would be ready to declare more ZOSOs early next year.
The NSC, at its recent meeting, stressed the need to continue the process of reducing the murder rate through continued application of enhanced security measures. These would include the continuation of the States of Public Emergency and the creation of new ZOSOs.
The statement noted that this was deemed necessary even as all of the other legislative, technology, and security force development plans are being implemented.
Prime Minister Holness added that the need for special legislation for enhanced security measures was also discussed at the recent Security Council meeting, and that Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte provided an update on progress towards finalizing elements of the new law.
Opposition Spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson, who was present, also reportedly sought general updates on major investigations being undertaken by MOCA and the Police.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang discussed reported advances made in several key legislative measures, including regulations for MOCA, and the tabling of the those regulations in 2020.
Prime Minister Holness also expressed concern regarding the current civil unrest in neighbouring Haiti and said that the Council was informed that the Jamaican Government is monitoring the situation and is prepared for any eventuality.
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson updated the Council on the progress of various technology projects currently being pursued by the JCF, including implementation timelines.
The Council was told that the first specially trained Quick Response Team was launched in St. James two weeks ago, and is reportedly reaping success.