Statement to Parliament by Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, 27th December 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise with your leave to commend our security officers on an excellent job so far in maintaining the peace. Christmas and Carnival Seasons are the most hectic and challenging for our security forces. They have responded so far with enthusiasm and professionalism to the increased demands on their time. 

They work long hours doubling up given the exigencies of the occasion. This year we have seen the results of the active leadership of our high command being very visible and engaged, securing the peace at all major events from VAT Day to J’ouvert, yesterday. 

Yesterday one of the largest crowd ever participated in our J’ouvert jam, which was marked by the high level of revelry and merriment palpable everywhere. 

We thank God that there were no gun-related incidents reported by the police in particular and few transgressions of the law or other criminal incidents in general. In 2018 police made 64 arrests arising out of J’ouvert events. This year they arrested 14 for misconduct and were released after J’ouvert.

The JNF Hospital, which is usually stretched and stressed when there is any negative fallout from J’ouvert, had fewer J’ouvert related incidents to treat with. In 2018, the JNF Hospital recorded 19 incidents associated with J’ouvert morning jamming. Three (3) gunshot wound cases and 3 persons reported that they were ran over by tractor(s). Two Police Officers were injured. In 2019, only 1 person was reported to have been ran over by tractor. We had 2 persons who were treated for knife-related injuries and both were heavily intoxicated that is, they were drunk. We appeal for moderation or avoidance of alcohol and more disciplined behaviour in what we consume for the rest of the Season. Avoidance of excess drinking and represents a better approach to healthy living.  Five persons were treated for dehydration at the JNF Hospital yesterday. We would encourage all citizens and residents to have regular intake of water.

Yesterday J’ouvert was not only massive, it was also peaceful. I commend not only the security forces but also the young men, their families and friends who have been encouraging them on the alternative pathway of peace and lawful and legitimate engagement. Too many lives have been lost. We have shown that it does not have to be this way. The lives we are saving are precious lives to be put in service to God and mankind.

Congratulations to All. May our Carnival Season continue to be lovely and incident-free.

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