CRIME CRAMPED

Mon­tague says MoBay vi­o­lence con­tained

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Deb­bie-Ann Wright News Ed­i­tor – Ra­dio deb­bie-ann.wright@glean­erjm.com

NA­TIONAL SE­CU­RITY Min­is­ter Robert Mon­tague is declar­ing that the lat­est flare-up of crime in St James has been con­tained fol­low­ing the ad­di­tional de­ploy­ment of po­lice and mil­i­tary as­sets to the parish since Thurs­day night.

He said the ac­tiv­i­ties of the se­cu­rity forces re­sulted in the cap­ture of the pri­mary sus­pect, an­other per­son of in­ter­est, and the seizure of the motor ve­hi­cle used in some of the in­ci­dents.

How­ever, de­spite the progress be­ing made, Mon­tague, yes­ter­day morn­ing, painted a picture of an al­most help­less po­lice force and army against the ris­ing tide of crime and vi­o­lence, say­ing the na­tion must be­gin dis­cussing how to pro­vide them with more tools to do their jobs.

His com­ments came just hours af­ter the po­lice im­posed a cur­few in Glen­de­von, St James, in re­sponse to the killing of two peo­ple and the shoot­ing of sev­eral oth­ers.

Mon­tague said that while the cur­few can help, it is a tem­po­rary mea­sure.

“There is noth­ing be­tween the cur­few and a state of emer­gency, and I would like to place on the ta­ble for na­tional dis­cus­sion, as I’ve done be­fore, the ques­tion of some in­stru­ment to put in the tool­box of the se­cu­rity forces that fits be­tween a cur­few and a state of emer­gency for a limited time,” Mon­tague de­clared at the of­fi­cial hand­ing over of a Cessna 150 aero­plane to the Ja­maica Com­bined Cadet Force at the Tin­son Pen Aero­drome.

PER­SONAL COST OF FIGHT­ING CRIME

In the mean­time, Mon­tague said mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces feel that any ac­tion they take to fight crime will come at a per­sonal cost, par­tic­u­larly with the threat of pros­e­cu­tion by the In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion of In­ves­ti­ga­tions.

He said the frus­tra­tion of the se­cu­rity forces was brought into fo­cus for him as he gave a mo­ti­va­tional talk to some mem­bers who were headed to St James on Thurs­day night.

Mon­tague said a young sol­dier told him that while the pub­lic is call­ing for the se­cu­rity forces to go to St James, law en­forcers are torn about how to do their jobs when they en­counter thugs will­ing to take them on.

“If I take him on, he might kill me or I might kill him. If he kills me, my fam­ily loses me. If I kill him, my fam­ily will also lose,” Mon­tague re­layed be­ing told by the sol­dier.

Mon­tague’s op­po­si­tion coun­ter­part, Peter Bunt­ing, has also called for the coun­try to take a se­ri­ous look at iden­ti­fy­ing the is­sues con­tribut­ing to the cur­rent vi­o­lence and de­vel­op­ing short, medium, and long-term re­sponses.

Bunt­ing wants the prime min­is­ter to im­me­di­ately con­vene a meet­ing of the se­cu­rity forces, pri­vate sec­tor, and civil so­ci­ety to craft an emer­gency re­sponse to ad­dress the up­surge of crime in St James and other sec­tions of West­ern Ja­maica.

The na­tional se­cu­rity min­istry says a meet­ing with lead­ers and stake­hold­ers in Mon­tego Bay and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties has also been called by As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner War­ren Clarke, who is in charge of Area 1, to en­list their sup­port. Mon­tague has en­cour­aged all res­i­dents in St James to at­tend the meet­ing, the date for which is yet to be an­nounced.

MON­TAGUE

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