Although the crime figures for June has fallen dramatically by some 21% this is not being done through serious investigative work and probity but clear net fishing as part 1 to this post can attest to in as far as LGBT people are concerned. The police clearly have no materials in which to adequately develop a case to charge individuals so they use their awesome powers now under the present regulations to bring in persons they couldn't arbitrarily nab.
The Emergency regulations which among other things allows the security forces to:
Direct persons in charge of vehicles to move them to some other point in a 10-mile radius.
Search premises or vehicles where persons are suspected or are likely to endanger public safety.
Stop and search vehicles if it is suspected that they are being used in a manner prejudicial to public safety.
Have right of access to do work on land which is required for the preservation of peace or regulating the supply and distribution of water, fuel, electricity transportation and other necessities (the statutory purpose).
Take over on the order of the governor general any premises or facility which provides essential services defined in the regulations.
Restrict publication of undesirable material which may be prejudicial to the public interest or which may incite persons to commit a breach of the peace.
Prohibit assemblies of persons.
Prohibit the carrying of a firearm or other lethal weapon.
Prohibit the use of firearms and ammunition conditionally or unconditionally.
Restrict access to certain areas for persons who are suspected of acting prejudicial to public safety.
Prohibit the wearing of uniforms and emblems, except for those engaged in lawful industrial action.
Question persons and demand answers.
Arrest and detain persons whose behaviour gives reasonable grounds for suspecting that he/she is acting in a manner prejudicial to public safety, or has committed an offence against the regulations. Such persons are to be detained up to a period not exceeding 24 hours. However, the competent authority has the power to extend that detention period by a further five days on the authority of a resident magistrate or a police officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent.
Search persons and seize any article which is suspected or intended to be used in a manner prejudicial to public order and/or public safety.
Confine persons to residences on the authority of the minister to prevent such persons from acting in a manner prejudicial to public safety.
Control places of public resort and entertainment which are specified in an order.
Restrict the granting of bail for persons who contravene or fail to comply with provisions of the regulations, and where it is believed that such persons would be likely to commit a similar offence against the regulations.
Deal with compensation for the use of property and equipment during the period of the state of emergency.
It has since been brought to my attention that there are members of the LGBT community being held under questionable circumstances, three to be precise, two males in Kingston and one female in St. Catherine. They have been held for five days overall and have been able to secure the services of an attorney however family visits are limited due to the overcrowding of the lockups, visits are staggered over two to three days at a time per person so that everyone gets a chance to see their loved ones as the crowds that converge during visiting hours are large. I am hopeful that they will get out soon despite the circumstances, they too seem to be having some difficulty seeing their notice of detention papers although they have been told their attorneys have them.
Their detentions may not be linked to their sexuality or orientation at this time but due to the recent problems of the detention orders that are to be served to detainees upon being held under the Emergency Powers Act/regulations, lawyers have been complaining that when they are preparing to go to the specially set up Emergency Tribunal to hear these cases as habeus corpus rights has been waved the detention orders are blank and do not explain the reasons for holding the citizen. They are also complaining that it's when they actually attend the tribunal hearings it's the first time they are seeing many of these "hastily prepared" detention orders for their clients from the government lawyers without proper time for them to prepare their arguments or call possible witnesses, persons are being held for extended periods of time in over crowded facilities most without charge and in some instances mother and siblings are in one station.
The Emergency Tribunal has no powers basically as it only can offer recommendations in respective cases which are sent to the Ministry of National Security for a final decision. They have no jurisdiction over the intermittent five day notices which is a separate form sometimes hand written on one sheet. Some detainees have three or more five day notices suggesting sloppy administrative work on the police's part, they cleverly provide the "real notice of detention" documents just before the scheduled Emergency Tribunal hearing date or on the day in question for the detainee involved so as to legitimise their presence at the session as they, the cops, know they cannot proceed without the properly prepared detention order presented to the Tribunal which has sitting on it seasoned human rights persons such as Nancy Anderson from The Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights (IJCHR).
The notice of detention must be served upon a citizen upon being taken into custody signed by a Senior Superintendent of police under normal practice as soon as possible or within 24 hours after the detainee is in custody.
The police high command has since denied that there are blank detention notices being presented for detained persons, one leading human rights attorney said they are in possession of 5 such "blank" notices meaning the reasons for detaining the citizen are not outlined.
There were a recent set of circumstances involving some homeless MSMs and other LGBT people as well with the police under the state of emergency.
See: MSM Harassed Again from GLBTQ Jamaica
here is an excerpt:
"... set of homeless MSMs along with some of their friends in a different section of the district where the officers recognised the men and accused them of being male prostitutes they were harassed with one suffering hits with a baton ..."
The police clearly are loosing the little trust that was re-established following the incursion in Tivoli but the present circumstances do not look good. There is a clear need of a proper detention centre to house detained persons separate from the previous incarcerated populations so everyone is now batched together in filthy conditions at lockups. There is no way to get proper redress from the emergency tribunal in as far as breaches regarding detention notices not being served on a detainee the tribunal can only recommend so it has to go back to the Minister of National Security's office who is briefed by the police.
I have decided to do all business during the days and if I have to go out at night then I do so by planning my routes carefully. Prevention better than cure they say.
Be safe out there.
Peace and tolerance.