Sun | Dec 9, 2018

PNP queries support for zones - Jackson says finance ministry has provided no funds

Published:Wednesday | October 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue

Opposition spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson is questioning the Government's commitment to the zones of special operation (ZOSO), the crime-fighting and social intervention tool applied by the Andrew Holness administration.

Jackson told The Gleaner yesterday that the Ministry of Finance has yet to make available funds to both the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the social agencies working in declared ZOSOs.

"What has been the problem is the allocation of resources for both the police to go into the areas and for the social intervention," he said.

"The prime minister (Andrew Holness) announced in Parliament earlier when the first ZOSO Bill was passed that the minister of finance (Audley Shaw) would be making an announcement about a financing package that would drive the ZOSO."

Jackson made the charge against yesterday's announcement by Holness that the second ZOSO was Denham Town in Kingston, a community in the Kingston Western constituency represented by Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.

The community is also in the Kingston Western Police Division.

"It is a bunch of empty promises continuously, so I guess most of Jamaica, like myself, remain hopeless about what the Government will do or is prepared to do," Jackson said.

"So I thought the announcement would be a more comprehensive announcement about the financing of the crime-fighting initiatives of the Government and specifically the ZOSO. The first one in Mount Salem, it has found the need for social intervention and we have heard nothing about that."


St James, Clarendon need attention - Jackson

While not questioning Prime Minister Andrew Holness right to declare a zone of special operations in west Kingston, Opposition Spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson is questioning why other areas in the country, such as Clarendon, or sections of St James, where the crimes numbers demand intervention were not being addressed.

Jackson said the viciousness and daring nature of crimes in these communities beg for the attention of the prime minister and security forces.

"On the surface of it, it (ZOSO) asks more questions than it answers. The impression I am getting is that the ZOSOs are going to be the crime plan in the absence of anything more for over a year and eight months since the Government has taken office. ZOSOs represent the only so-called new approach.