States of Emergency should be judged on a national level - says Barnett

Attorney-at-Law Dr. Lloyd Barnett has suggested that the success of the States of Emergency now in effect in various parishes should be judged on a national level, rather than on a parish by parish basis.

Barnett is also pushing for more focus to be on a national plan to deal with crime rather than focusing on the constant extensions of  the States of Emergency. 

The security measure has been wrapped up in controversy, with strong arguments for and against its continuation.

While certain communities praise the effort due to reduced crime in their areas, there has been criticism that crime is still rising on the national level.

Dr Barnett argues that evaluating the success of  the States of  Emergency should be broader for a more accurate view.

“It cant be on a parish basis because criminals are migratory and therefore if you establish a state of emergency in one area, it means that they will go to another area. So when you look at the national statistics - the so called success needs to be viewed with caution,” said Mr. Barnett who was speaking Tuesday night on RJR's Balancing Justice.

He also cautioned that the effectiveness of the States of Emergency is under threat because of the widescale use.

“States of emergency gives exceptional powers to the security forces and the use of those powers on a continuous basis reduces the effect as it becomes routine. The criminals will then begin to operate in a manner in which they seek to circumvent restrictions imposed by the state of emergency.”

Meanwhile, Attorney-at-Law Lambert Johnson, who was also a guest on Balancing Justice, argued that there are benefits to having security measures but there needs to be a balance in how they are executed.

“I appreciate what is being done, but the balance (is) in terms of how it is executed - which they have the option of doing it properly. If the concerns are ironed out and taken care of, I would support an extension,” he said. 


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