Dr. Peter Phillips and Dr. Horace Chang
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips has declared that the existence of a state of emergency in any particular area has very little effect on whether crime will go up or down.
He was speaking in the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, where members debated the proposal to extend the measure in several areas.
Dr. Phillips noted that despite the states of emergency, there were 27 more murders up to December 7, than for the similar period last year.
He said the strategy has not yielded consistent results.
"In St. Catherine North, which has a state of emergency, their murders are 9.7 per cent down over last year. In St. Catherine South, which also has a state of emergency, murders are 25 per cent up. Both were declared at the same time. Hanover, Westmoreland down; St. Andrew South is up by 13 per cent. In other critical parishes where there is no state of emergency, murders are also up," he asserted.
Dr. Phillips also declared that the government was doggedly sticking to the strategy because it has no other answer.
He said the authorities are not deploying human resources efficiently. Pointing to a video circulating on social media where soldiers are seen sleeping at a checkpoint, he said the situation proved the use of the soldiers was being wasted "because they are in communities where no real violence is taking place and they could be used better in the hotspots that you have identified."
Earlier, National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang had urged the House to support the extension, arguing that the states of emergency are working.
He argued that the special powers were needed to ensure that killings were contained and to begin the process on a more extensive scale to transform communities.
"Any kind of easing of the security (measure) is merely a matter of giving space for some more killing and you start again. It doesn't make sense. It's irrational," he declared.