Leader of Government business in the Senate Kamina Johnson Smith has just closed the debate on the State of Emergency.

Despite attempts by the government, members of the opposition Senate remain unmoved in their unwillingness to support an extension of the States of Public Emergency.

During a marathon sitting of the Upper House this afternoon, both sides presented their case for and against the continued use of the enhanced security measure.

However, ultimately the government could not convince at least one member from their opposite benches which is required for the extension beyond the initial 14 days.

Wayne Walker reports.


The opposition, through its deputy leader of business in the Upper House, Donna Scott Motley, had already signalled a unanimous rejection of the State of Public Emergency.

However, Government Senator, Kamina Johnson Smith still tried to persuade them to go along with the government.

Senator Johnson Smith says with the areas under the SOEs enjoying an over 70 per cent reduction in murders since their declaration it’s clear the measure is vital.

However, her opposition counterpart Peter Bunting challenged that argument noting murders had been trending down before the declaration.

He also rejected the SOE as a routine crime-fighting tool calling the measure an abuse of human rights.

Bunting in a dramatic show, stood along with his fellow members and repeated his sworn oath as a senator.

While the civil society group Jamaicans for Justice has urged the opposition to stand against the measure citing concerns with the regulations and ongoing court challenges, several private sector groups have called on them to support it.

Government Senator Don Wheby slammed Senator Scott Motley for declaring their lack of support before the debate had even commenced.

Meanwhile, Government Senator, Mathew Samuda warned the PNP that they’ll pay a political price for their lack of support.

However, Opposition Senator, Damian Crawford made it clear that they are willing to pay that price.

Without the support of the Opposition, the SOEs will come to an end this month.