Thursday, April 25, 2024

PNP: No to state of emergency

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Opposition jettisoned the three-parish state of emergency by withholding support for its further extension, in the face of a reduced number of Government members in the House on Tuesday.Appearing to take advantage of the fact that only 25 of the 32 Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) MPs were present in Parliament, all 18 People’s National Party (PNP) MPs in the chamber abstained en bloc, effectively killing the motion to extend the state of emergency by a month from today when it ends.Government legal minds were agonising over how the state of emergency could be saved, in order to keep the pressure on criminals who have been on the run since the measure was first announced on May 23 in the Corporate Area and further extended by a month, to cover St Catherine as well. “They were looking at whether there was a way that the Governor General could intervene, as it was believed it would not be possible to take the matter back to the House,” a highly placed source told the Observer. The source noted that the prime minister had been able to advise the head of state to call the state of emergency without going to the House, but that he could only get the extension with the support of a majority of 31 MPs.Falling short by six MPs, who were said to be overseas, the Government  failed to convince the Opposition to support Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s resolution to extend the state of emergency for another month.Golding argued in vain that it was the security forces who had asked for the extension in a July 19 letter, and that it would “be playing Russian roulette with the country’s security” not to grant the extension. “We would be risking a regression from the significant advances that have been made,” he said. (Jamaica Observer)

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