JLP councillor says no need for SOE in Kingston Central

JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) Councillor for the Rae Town Division, Rosalie Hamilton broke ranks with the party yesterday, publicly disagreeing with the imposition of a state of emergency (SOE) across the Kingston Central constituency as announced by Prime Minister Holness.

The outspoken veteran Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) councillor posted on her Facebook page that the SOE should have been limited to violence-prone areas.

“Being a councillor and a political representative, you can’t express your feelings the way you want to, because you are marginalised in terms of what you can say and how you say it. But, I tell you, and I am being honest, I am upset with everything that has happened,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“We have to start thinking about people’s lives and their freedom. Take into consideration what COVID has done for many of us in business. Now you have police going around and telling people they have to lock up their businesses by 6:00 pm after people jus’ a come out of COVID quarantine!” she remarked.

According to her, a number of murders – eight to 10 by her count – have been committed in sections of the constituency since April, but there was no intervention by the police.

She said that since nothing was being done, two weeks ago she and the JLP caretaker for the constituency, Donovan Williams, brother of Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams, met with the warring factions which, according to her, are not supporters of the JLP.

“We went in there and we had dialogue with the people. We offered them hope and [job] opportunities, and over the past two weeks there has been no violence in the areas. None. We intervened because we are human beings, and people were dying. So why the police didn’t ask for a state of emergency when the people were dying?” she queried.

Councillor Hamilton said she heard the prime minister say the reason for the state of emergency is because of the murders and the level of extortion on the KSAMC Sea Coast (improvement) project.

“The persons who told the prime minister that, even if it is the police, it is a lie. There is no extortion on the Sea Coast site. Nobody down there is getting paid who is not employed on the site. It is totally misleading and false,” she charged.

“I took on the responsibility to oversee the hiring of people down there, free of cost, so if that is the basis for the state of emergency it is totally misleading and false,” Hamilton added.

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