The House of Representatives yesterday extended the States of Public Emergency in St. Catherine and Clarendon for another thirty days.

The extension was a compromise between the Opposition, which had refused to support the usual ninety-day extension, and the government, which insisted that it was necessary.

The compromise followed extensive debate and discussion between the Government and the Opposition in the House yesterday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the case that since the implementation of the state of public emergency in both parishes – the rate of murders and shootings collectively have been reduced by 73%.

He urged the Opposition to support a 90-day extension in a bid to save more lives.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

But, responding, Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, said the Opposition would only support a 21-day extension of the state of public emergency in Clarendon and St. Catherine if certain conditions are met.

Dr. Peter Phillips, Opposition Leader.

The Opposition Leader later agreed to a 30-day extension of the state of public emergency in Clarendon and St. Catherine.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness indicated that the Government would  agree to a policy where businesses within the areas where the measure is in effect will be able to operate between 7:00am and 10:00 pm.

Meanwhile, National Security Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, says since the declaration of the state of public emergency on September 5 the security forces have been able to arrest over 150 alleged gangsters in both Clarendon and St. Catherine

He says among those taken off the streets are some of the parishes’ most wanted men.

Dr. Horace Chang, National Security Minister.