Cousins claims parties might be better at stemming crime than SOEs
Clarendon SW MP demands removal of police commish for underperformance
Clarendon South Western Member of Parliament Lothan Cousins says the only noticeable results of states of public emergency (SOEs) are their crippling economic effects, and the disruption of the livelihoods of constituents who make an income from...
Clarendon South Western Member of Parliament Lothan Cousins says the only noticeable results of states of public emergency (SOEs) are their crippling economic effects, and the disruption of the livelihoods of constituents who make an income from entertainment events.
Cousins was supported by Mikael Phillips, People’s National Party (PNP) vice president and member of parliament for Manchester North Western , who said it was the small business owners who are dealt a raw deal during SOEs, citing early business closures resulting in loss of revenue.
The men were speaking during a recent divisional conference at the Toll Gate Primary and Infant School in Clarendon.
Cousins claimed that the incomes of some constituents continue to dwindle under the imposition of SOEs.
A 14-day SOE was declared in the central parish on May 16.
Cousins has also accused the Jamaica Constabulary Force of using classism in granting permits to host entertainment events across the parish.
The police say no entertainment permits will be granted in more than a dozen Clarendon communities up to July 1. Affected communities across Clarendon South Western include York Town, Four Paths, Cherry Tree Lane and Havannah Heights.
“We have a lot of people in the constituency and the parish who depend on round-robins. They have blacklisted many communities in this constituency. The poor people cannot keep any event, drink-out, cook-out, but yet still, as soon as a request is made for Chillin on the Farm, or any other event that encourages the middle and upper classes to come here and enjoy themselves, them get a permit, nuh true?” Cousins asserted, with supporters shouting in agreement.
Chillin on the Farm is a brunch party series held on Murray’s Farm in Toll Gate in the area.
“That is wrong! And that is symbolic of what is happening in the country today, the story of two Jamaicas. The poor man get him permit a week ago, him ready fi keep him event this week, and as soon as him ready fe keep him event, the police dem come and lock it off. How is that fair to the ordinary Jamaican, [and] the ordinary constituent of southwestern Clarendon?” he questioned.
He argued that SOEs are not necessarily effective in crime reduction, but said, to the contrary, entertainment events could stem crime.
“In fact, what obtains and remains true, is that most of the persons who would ordinarily be idle and involved in criminal activity, they go to the parties and enjoy themselves. Them go home, them so tired them cyaa do nutten at all,” he said, stressing than a ban on entertainment events does not unearth any good for the parish.
Cousins, who is also an attorney-at-law, stressed that SOEs often infringe upon the constitutional rights of what he described as “disenfranchised Jamaicans”.
According to Cousins, graver measures should be deployed in fighting crime. Asserting that a serious move would be relieving Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson of his duties, he alleged that head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has been underperforming.
Cousins’ stance had sparked a heated reaction in Parliament in 2021, when he made similar remarks.
At the time, House Speaker Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert ordered Cousins to withdraw the statement, but he refused.
“We don’t know why they have him there still,” he said of Anderson on Sunday.
“How can you keep a public relations function and show all of your gadgets and modern technology to the Jamaican people? You not serious about fighting crime,” he quipped, referring to the JCF’s transformation expo which was staged last his month at the National Arena.