Parliament Approves Regulations for Extension of St Catherine SOE

Regulations facilitating the extension of the State of Public Emergency in the St. Catherine North Police Division until July 3 were approved in the House of Representatives yesterday.

The State of Public Emergency in the St. Catherine North Police Division was declared on March 18. The regulations were approved after Prime Minister Andrew Holness responded to concerns raised by Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips.

Dr. Phillips said the Opposition is concerned about the role the regulations governing the State of Public Emergency gives the Minister of National Security in extending the time people are detained.

Prime Minister Holness noted that the Minister has to consult the security forces before signing a detention order.

Dr. Phillips said he’s not convinced by the Prime Minister’s assurance.

He argued the regulations should state explicitly that the Minister cannot sign a detention order without a recommendation from the leadership of the security forces.

Prime Minister Holness noted that the regulations already mandate the Minister to consult the security forces before signing a detention order.

However, Mr. Holness accepted that in the interest of clarity the regulations may be re-worded at a later date.

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