Timeline: Tracking #ZOSO – Jamaica’s Zones of Special Operations – from Inception to Execution

Much has transpired in Jamaica since the suggestion of what is now being called #ZOSO: Zones of Special Operations. The suggestion was first made by Government as a crime-fighting measure near the start of 2017 after an alarming increase in murders. The gist of the Government’s argument for ZOSO was that desperate times called for not-quite-desperate, but still drastic, specific, and calculated measures.
Months later, the Bill allowing ZOSO’s implementation has been passed, and Jamaica’s first ZOSO has been declared. diGJamaica sees the need to chronicle the unfolding of the ZOSO saga, if only to provide accuracy and clarity about where it started, and to track what is happening in a manner that allows Jamaicans and other interested parties to understand Jamaican crime-fighting history as it unfolds.

See our explanation, in layman’s terms, of what SOZO is and the circumstances leading to its inception: What are ‘Zones of Special Operations’? In Laymen’s Terms (See also ZOSO Made Simple)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – PM Andrew Holness Tables New Crime-Fighting Law

Unplanned communities named among statistics that contribute to crime and violence, will be targeted as the government seeks to give the security forces greater control over spaces deemed ‘high crime areas’.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Columnist Ian Boyne weighs in on SOZO, advising PM Holness to press ahead with crime-fighting measures instead of pandering to popular opinion and fundamentalists.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – Public invited to contribute to draft Bill

A Joint Select Committee of Parliament reviewing the Bill to establish special security operations zones invites members of the public to give their opinions on the draft legislation.


Monday, June 26, 2017 – Opposition lists concerns re ZOSO Bill

Mark Golding, opposition spokesman on justice, has outlined a host of concerns around proposed legislation for the creation of special zones of operation.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte has defended the decision of Prime Minister Andrew Holness to put the force of his office behind the Zones of Special Operations Bill that was crafted to cramp spiralling crime that has left Jamaica bleeding.


Friday, July 7, 2017 – ZOSO Bill passed by Senate with 13 amendments 

Despite lingering concerns about some provisions in the Zones of Special Operations Bill, opposition senators joined their Government counterparts to pass the legislation, signalling that the Andrew Holness administration is one step closer to rolling out a new legislative framework to tackle rampant criminality.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017 – House of Reps approves amendments

The House of Representatives approves amendments to the Zones of Special Operations Bill, which was passed by the Senate with 13 amendments.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Constitutional attorney Dr Lloyd Barnett, says more details are needed on the Special Zones of Operations legislation which is about to be enacted.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017 – ZOSO Act published in Jamaica Gazette, becomes law

The Zones of Special Operations Act is now law. Minister of Information, Senator Ruel Reid, says the legislation was published in the Jamaica Gazette yesterday.


Friday, July 21, 2017 – Geographical mapping for ZOSO begins?

Heavy helicopter presence over certain communities within the Corporate Area has been explained by Col Jamie Ogilvie, the man in charge of operations at the Jamaica Defence Force, as a method for deterring, detecting, and defeating criminals in their endeavours, especially as the security forces await the go-ahead to enter designated zones of special operations.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that matters of procurement must be treated as priority, once an area is designated a Zone of Special Operation.


Friday, September 1 – First ZOSO declared: Mt Salem and its environs

In a press conference at Jamaica House, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the nation’s first Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO): Mount Salem and its environs. The St James communities will remain a ZOSO for the next 60 days, which means that the operation will finish at the end of October.


Sunday, September 3, 2017 – PM accused of acting on faulty data

Some residents of Mount Salem are adamant that Prime Minister Andrew Holness acted on faulty information in selecting their community to be the first zone of special operations (ZOSO).

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announces a $100 million fund to reward persons who supply information that lead to the recovery of illegal weapons and ammunition.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips insists it’s the security forces which should take the lead in giving updates on activities in the zones of special operations (ZOSO) and not the political authorities.

The Opposition’s creates its own zones of special operations (ZOSO) complaints number, announced through the media on Friday, Sept 1, and accused of creating confusion and politicising the efforts of the joint command to actively take on the concerns of citizens on the ground. This as the Opposition number ends with the same four digits as the official one.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017 – Security forces meet to address data blunder, admit error

Despite coming under pressure for citing and acting on inaccurate data that led to Mount Salem in St James being chosen as the first zone of special operations (ZOSO), the National Security Council (NSC) has declared that it was not apologetic for designating the area, but has admitted to flaws in the selection process.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017 – Mt Salem curfew ends, ZOSO continues

Residents of the Mount Salem community in Montego Bay, St James, who had mistakenly thought that the zone of special operations (ZOSO) initiative had been lifted on Monday night, after some of the barriers that were erected on Friday were suddenly removed, woke up to find the barriers back in place yesterday morning.


Thursday, September 7, 2017 – Roster of JPs to work in ZOSO being prepared

Almost a week after Prime Minister Andrew Holness launched the first zone of special operations (ZOSO) in Mt Salem, St James, a roster is being prepared for the parish’s justices of the peace (JP) to work in the zone.

With just hours to go before the five-day grace period for illegal weapons found on premises in Mount Salem, St James, ended, it would appear that the offer, which was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, fell flat as the security forces found only one gun.


Friday, September 8, 2017 – More cops deployed to Mt Salem

Seventy more cops have been deployed to the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St James.


Saturday, September 9, 2017 – ZOSO community services fair held in Mt Salem

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is working with state agencies to ensure that unattached or at-risk youth in the Mount Salem community of St James are reintegrated into the education or skills-training system.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017 – PM makes full statement on ZOSO in Parliament

In a statement to Parliament, PM Holness addresses some of the concerns persons have about ZOSO, and updates them on the operation’s progress.

Opposition Leader Peter Phillips casts doubt on the effectiveness of ZOSO, saying murders have gone up since its implementation.


Friday, September 17, 2017

Plans are afoot for justices of the peace (JPs) in Hanover and Westmoreland to be trained so that they will be in a state of readiness to participate in zones of special operations (ZOSO), the Government’s latest initiative to battle crime.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr Horace Chang,  insists that the declaration of Mount Salem, St James, as a zone of special operations (ZOSO) was not influenced by politics.

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