On Wednesday, May 2, the Jamaican parliament approved extending the state of emergency (SOE) in Saint James parish until August 2. The extension of the SOE comes amid its apparent success in reducing crime in the parish since it was declared on January 18. Prime Minister Andrew Holness told lawmakers prior to the vote that there have been 62 fewer murders between January 1 and April 30 this year compared to the same period in 2017. Government officials argued that the SOE needed to be extended in order to allow the police and community to consolidate current gains against crime.
During the state of emergency, police and military personnel are given the authority to search people and buildings, cut business hours, and detain individuals without a warrant.
An SOE is also in effect in the North Police Division of Saint Catherine parish until at least July 3. The authorities launched major police operations on January 18 in both parishes to combat a significant rise in crime.
Individuals present in Saint James and Saint Catherine parishes, as well as those throughout Jamaica, are advised to remain vigilant, follow all instructions issued by local authorities, and exercise basic security precautions (e.g. keep signs of wealth concealed, drive with doors locked and windows rolled up, etc.).