The Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller has responded to the State of Emergency declared by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

In an open letter the Opposition Leader express alarm that was not imposed. However, she also  use the opportunity to ask what rights would be lost during this State  of Emergency.

In her letter the Opposition Leader was quoted, “powers that are exercisable under a state of pubic emergency are extremely wide and therefore it is of the utmost importance that the public be advised as to the regulations that are intended to be promulgated. It would be of public interest as to whether the full range of those powers is to be employed and whether, for example, media communication and freedom of speech are to be affected.”

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A letter from Portia Simpson Miller to Prime Minister Bruce Golding:

I am in receipt of your letter dated May 23, 2010 and take note of the step taken by the Government to have a state of public emergency declared in Kingston and St. Andrew.

We are alarmed that no curfew was imposed in any of those areas while breaches of the public order were allowed to escalate. This took place in certain communities with targeted criminal groups taking the attack to the security forces.

We note also that powers that are exercisable under a state of pubic emergency are extremely wide and therefore it is of the utmost importance that the public be advised as to the regulations that are intended to be promulgated. It would be of public interest as to whether the full range of those powers is to be employed and whether, for example, media communication and freedom of speech are to be affected.

I would urge that a civilian oversight mechanism be established to monitor the application of the emergency powers by the Security Forces. Should you accept this suggestion I stand ready to consult with you regarding any other proposal and the composition of the oversight body.

I would urge that the state of public emergency be rescinded once the immediate threat to public security has been removed.

– Portia Simpson Miller
Opposition Leader

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