Holness JPL Government moves to crackdown on what they describe as “rampant lawlessness” in the St. James Parish…
Jamaica – Montego Bay, one of Jamaica’s top travel destinations, is in military lockdown at the height of tourist season.
An operation started at dawn on Friday, as members of the Jamaica Defence Force rolled into St. James Parish in armoured vehicles, enforcing the state of emergency that had been declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness the previous night.
Soldiers in camouflaged fatigues and helmets patrolled Montego Bay, stopping vehicles, detaining people both at random and in targeted raids aimed at the entrenched criminal underbelly of the Caribbean paradise. Reserve troops have been called into active service.
The federal government advised any Canadians in the region to “restrict your movements” and “be extremely vigilant,” to stay inside resorts, and use only officially provided transport.
“Well, as you can see, it is a very strong police-military presence deployed in the area since this morning,” said Major Basil Jarrett, the civil military cooperation officer at the Jamaica Defence Force.
“It is in response to the rampant criminality: the murder rate, the extortion, the general lawlessness in Montego Bay and other parts of St James. We are here to see if we can arrest the situation.”
The government said it has been planning the operation for some time in response to what it describes as the “rampant lawlessness” of the region, on the island’s northwest coast. Last year, St. James Parish was averaging almost a killing every day.