A state of emergency has been declared in Jamaica as part of an effort to combat violent crime, according to reports.
“All Jamaicans should be able to enjoy the Christmas season free from the threat of violence. We have some really serious criminal threats facing us and we have to use all the powers at our disposal,” said the country’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness in a public address Wednesday and reported by CNN.
The state of emergency will be enforced in nine of Jamaica’s 14 parishes, including Clarendon, Saint Catherine, Westmoreland, Hanover and parts of Kingston, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann and Saint James, allowing authorities to arrest people and search buildings without warrant.
“We have to ensure that our homicide rate and the level of violence that citizens experience on a daily basis does not get to the point where it threatens to collapse the state,” Holness added.