spokesman on national security Peter Bunting has hit back at Prime Minister Andrew Holness for his chastisement of the People’s National Party (PNP) for not supporting an extension of the states of public emergency (SOE).
In a statement Sunday, Bunting sought to ridicule the idea that any fall-off in murders was due to an SOE, suggesting instead that the apparent respite in killings has been caused by the 2022 World Cup now underway in Qatar.
“The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration and persons in the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) have been trying to suggest that the decline in murders for the last couple weeks have been due entirely to the states of emergency,” said Bunting.
“A year ago, November 2021, when we had states of emergency declared, murders went up by 37 per cent in the first week and continued in the second week. None of them at that time said the murders increased after the declaration of states of emergencies, so it doesn’t work.
“They never said that. They still maintained that states of emergencies work. Now, when it goes down, they happily forget what happened last year. They are using this particular time as a justification.”
Bunting, a former security minister under the PNP, added: “They had states of emergencies in 2018, 2019, 2020 and every one of those years murders were significantly higher than any year between 2012 and 2015 when there was no state of emergency.
“Somehow, they still continue this falsehood that states of emergencies work, even when you have no statistical evidence. In the last two weeks murders have not just gone down in parishes with no states of emergency, which suggests that whatever is causing the impact is national and not restricted to the areas where they are having states of emergency.
“It is very convenient for them. If you go back three to four World Cup periods, we always have substantial declines in violent crimes,” said Bunting.
Ignoring widespread calls for its support, PNP Members of Parliament and senators voted against the extension of the SOEs in the Upper and Lower Houses last week.