PNP: Declare a State of Public Emergency in the nation's interest

March 30, 2020
Opposition Spokesperson on Justice, Donna Scott-Mottley

The People’s National Party (PNP) is calling on the government to declare a state of emergency (SOE) saying it believes that it is the right legislative vehicle to help fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Opposition Spokesperson on Justice, Donna Scott-Mottley, said there should be no ambiguity in the country’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the rights and freedom of Jamaicans.

“This crisis which we face as a nation is unprecedented. It is a time when the entire country should come together in recognition of our humanity and vulnerability.  We continue to urge all Jamaicans to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and family and follow the advice issued by of the health authorities.  We are all in this together,” she said in a statement.

The PNP said that it stands ready to support the government in the measures being taken to combat the virus but insists that they must be anchored within the ambit of legal provisions.

Scott-Mottley said that the Constitution sets out the framework for a situation such as the one being experienced in Jamaica and the rest of the world.

The government is using powers under the Disaster Risk Management Act to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the government should cause the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen…to issue the appropriate proclamation under Section 20 of the Constitution which gives him the authority to so do, if he is satisfied ‘that a period of public disaster has arisen as a result of the occurrence of any earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire, outbreak of pestilence, outbreak of infections, disease or other calamity, whether similar to the foregoing or not’”  Scott-Mottley said.

The PNP is of the view that a declaration of a State of Public Emergency in the current circumstances is one which will ensure that the clear signal is sent that the Constitution is supreme.

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