Senators from the Opposition People’s National Party, the PNP, who were present in the Upper House a short while ago voted against a motion to extend States of Public Emergency in seven police divisions effectively crippling a move to prolong the enhanced security measure which was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness two weeks ago.

The government had required the vote of at least one Opposition Senator to have the measure extended.

All 13 government members voted in support of the measure.

Three Opposition Senators voted against an extension, while the remaining five were not present in the chamber when the votes were taken denying the government the one vote required.

Some Jamaicans, the leaders of the security forces and the influential Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, PSOJ, had called for an extension of the States of Public Emergency.

However, Opposition Senators, led by Peter Bunting, had argued that an extension of the States of Public Emergency is not sustainable and contrary to the intention of the framers of the constitution when they contemplated the measure.

Bunting argued that focus should be placed on measures including saturation Policing and increased used of technology in a bid to reduce violent crime. 

But Cabinet Minister, Senator Matthew Samuda, who led debate on the motion defended the lawfulness of the States of Public Emergency which he noted are being used in conjunction to a series of other measures to reduce crime and violence in Jamaica.

Samuda and his colleague Government Senators quoted statistics which show a major reduction in violent crimes in areas where States of Public Emergency have been declared.

In a terse closing of the debate, Samuda told the Senate that there is a reason why when most law abiding citizens across the length and breadth of Jamaica are interviewed, they generally support the extension of the States of Public Emergency.

He said the measure, demonstrably makes people safer, allows the police to do crucial work and importantly saves many lives.

Samuda told the Parliament that any member of the Senate who votes against what he described as the life saving measure has betrayed the aspirations of Jamaicans who desire to preserve their lives and live in a safer country

The motion was put to a vote and all Opposition Senators who were present voted against the extension.

Opposition Senators, Peter Bunting, Floyd and Damion Crawford, were the three Opposition Senators who voted against the extension of the States of Public Emergency.

Four Opposition Senators who were present in the chamber during the debate left the sitting before the voting process commenced.