Mark Golding takes government to task over new SOEs

Opposition Leader Mark Golding has strongly criticised the government for what he has characterised as a lack of consultation prior to the declaration of another round of states of emergency.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced on Tuesday that the security measure was reintroduced in Clarendon, St Catherine, St James, Westmoreland, Hanover and sections of Kingston & St Andrew. It was also newly introduced to St Ann and the St Andrew Central police division.
Mr Golding decried what he termed the scant regard shown to the opposition on states of emergency, citing "no briefing as to the specific security issues which are being relied on as justification for another round of SOEs."
This, he said, "clearly shows once again that the Government has no regard for the Opposition ."
Instead, he claimed, "Mr Holness prefers to be wrong and strong, pressing on with his SOE policy."
He also took issue with the modified regulations governing the security measure, saying they are excessive and can be easily abused.
In that regard, he highlighted one provision in the regulations which makes it a criminal offence, "punishable by months of imprisonment, if you do not answer any questions a police officer or soldier may put to you, in a state of emergency area."
Additionally, he higlighted a provision which applies criminal sanctions against persons who do not inform the authorities of breaches of the SOE by close relatives, including a spouse and children.
He also expressed concern about the fact that there's no provision for the destruction of photographs, DNA samples and fingerprints of persons detained and later released without charge under the state of emergency.

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