SOE in St Catherine, Clarendon extended to October 19

Jamaica Defence Force Soldiers on patrol.

The States of Emergency (SOE) in St Catherine and Clarendon have been extended for one month. Members of Parliament voted for the extension in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (Sept 17).

The one-month extension was a compromise between the Jamaica Labour Party government and the Opposition People’s National Party. The government had requested a 90-day extension but the Opposition only wanted a 21-day continuation.

The government’s position was that the SOE, imposed on both parishes on September 5, brought down the level of criminality in that section of the island, especially murder.

The Opposition argued that the SOE was hurting businesses, especially the small entrepreneurs, because of the limited hours they had to operate. The compromise was made after Prime Minister Andrew Holness agreed to extend the opening hours of businesses. The new hours would be 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.