With statistics provided by the Jamaica Constabulary Force showing a continued decline in all major crimes, including murder, in the seven communities that are declared Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs), the House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to extend the security measure for another 60 days from February 21 when they were due to expire.
ZOSOs are in force in Mount Salem and Norwod in St James, Denham Town, Greenwich Town, August Town and Parade Gardens in St Andrew and Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland.
The motion to extend the ZOSOs was moved by National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang.
“The zones …remain relevant and robust. They are bringing about meaningful and sustainable transformation of these communities and are restoring a sense of hope for the people who reside within and around the zones,” Chang said.
He noted that “the value-proposition of the Zones of Special Operations reside in the fact that we place equal emphasis on restoring and maintaining order and safety, as well as improving the human capital factor and life outcomes of the residents”.
The security minister, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said critical to the success of the ZOSOs is the equipping of residents with life skills, training, and a sense of identity that will lead them to living more productive lives long after the zones are concluded.
He pointed out that the intended outcomes and impact of the ZOSOs cannot be fully realised unless the investment and initiatives are sustained over the medium to long-term.
“This must be accompanied by routine monitoring and rigorous evaluation, which we (the Government) have set out to do to ensure that the lessons learnt will inform the way forward,” said Chang.