Security Minister Unapologetic over Govt’s Management of St James SOE

National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, says he’s not apologizing for how the state is conducting security operations in the State of Public Emergency in St James.

Last week, the Public Defender, Arlene Harrison Henry, told the nation’s Parliament that persons detained under the special security measure in the parish are being held in conditions that breached their human rights.

But, Minister Chang in defending the operations, says they were necessary to deal with what he’s describing as a crime crisis in the parish.

This was how Human Rights activist Maria Carla Gullotta, described conditions in the detention centres in St James.

But, the National Security Minister says the response was necessary to address crime which was at crisis levels in St James.

Dr. Chang, who’s also Member of Parliament for North West St James, says those criticizing the security measure are being naive.

The Public Defender had also reported that some of the detainees had rashes and other skin conditions.

But, Dr Chang says not all of those cases originated in the lockups.

The National Security Minister is also chiding those who accuse the security forces of detaining children under the State of Public Emergency.

Minister Chang says the detention facility in St James has a capacity to hold 220 people. But, he says currently, only 178 persons are presently being held there. Only 49 of them were detained under the State of Public Emergency.

The National Security Minister is insisting that the special security measure has been a success because it has drastically reduced crimes in the parish.


Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.

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