STILL BLEED­ING

Hol­ness prom­ises ‘re­sults soon’ in MoBay crime fight Death toll in­creases as shoot­ings con­tinue

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Adrian Frater News Edi­tor

Dur­ing this week, The Gleaner will be plac­ing a spe­cial spot­light on crime in Mon­tego Bay.

FWESTERN BU­REAU: OLLOWING A tour of sec­tions of crime-rav­aged St James yes­ter­day, dur­ing which he met with the top lead­er­ship of the se­cu­rity forces and key busi­ness stake­hold­ers, Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness says he has been given an as­sur­ance that the crime sit­u­a­tion will be brought un­der con­trol.

“I met with the se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus here, and I am con­fi­dent and sat­is­fied that they are mo­ti­vated and com­mit­ted and that they are go­ing to do ev­ery­thing within the power of the law to bring the sit­u­a­tion un­der con­trol, and I ex­pect that there will be re­sults soon,” the prime min­is­ter said.

How­ever, de­spite his ex­pres­sion of con­fi­dence, Hol­ness – who was ac­com­pa­nied on his tour by Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Robert Mon­tague; At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mar­lene Mala­hoo Forte, who is also the mem­ber of par­lia­ment (MP) for West Cen­tral St James; Bri­gadier Antony An­der­son, chief of de­fence staff of the Ja­maica De­fence Force; North West St James MP Dr Ho­race Chang; and the top brass of the Area One po­lice com­mand struc­ture – stressed that the sit­u­a­tion would not be brought un­der con­trol overnight.

“We don’t have a switch to turn off crime ... . The strate­gies we are putting in place will take some time to bear fruit, but we are work­ing with the great­est speed and alacrity to en­sure the re­sults bear fruit,” the prime min­is­ter said. Hol­ness also noted that leg­isla­tive re­form would have to take place to fa­cil­i­tate the mil­i­tary and the po­lice work­ing to­gether to com­bat crime.

“There is a need for leg­isla­tive re­form to em­power our po­lice – and mil­i­tary in sup­port of the po­lice – leg­is­la­tion that is rel­e­vant and ap­pli­ca­ble to the crime sit­u­a­tion we face ... ,” said Hol­ness. “More will be said about that when we go to Par­lia­ment [this week] ... . The se­cu­rity [forces] will have to do far more searches.”

NOT ONLY SE­CU­RITY PROB­LEM

In ex­plain­ing some of the strate­gies that will be brought to bear on the sit­u­a­tion, the prime min­is­ter said a coast guard port is to be es­tab­lished in Mon­tego Bay to stem the flow of weapons and that the mat­ter of “more boots on the ground” and the mo­bil­ity of the po­lice would be ad­dressed.

“The crime sit­u­a­tion in Mon­tego Bay can­not be viewed in a uni-di­men­sional [way]. The crime sit­u­a­tion has many dif­fer­ent an­gles to it. It is a mul­ti­fac­eted prob­lem, and from what we have seen, from our de­brief­ing with the com­mis­sioner and the chief of

de­fence staff, and the mem­bers of par­lia­ment in the area, it is clear that it is more than just a se­cu­rity prob­lem. We have to bring in the other agen­cies of Gov­ern­ment to help to stem the crime prob­lem,” he said.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Dr Carl Wil­liams said the Lottery Scam Task Force would also be re­in­stated to as­sist in bring­ing a halt to the vi­o­lence, much of which has been at­trib­uted to lottery-scam­ming ac­tiv­i­ties.

Dur­ing his tour, the prime min­is­ter got a first-hand view of the crim­i­nal may­hem that rained on the city last week as he vis­ited com­mu­ni­ties such as Nor­wood, Glen­de­von, Mount Salem, and down­town Mon­tego Bay, where the ma­jor­ity of last week’s at least 12 mur­ders were com­mit­ted.

“There is no deny­ing that the past week was a try­ing one. It has cre­ated a great deal of fear in cit­i­zens and con­cern right across the coun­try, and, in­deed, glob­ally as the lo­cal images find their way into the news feeds in­ter­na­tion­ally,” Hol­ness said.

AD­DI­TIONAL SUP­PORT

Mon­tague also spoke to ad­di­tional ef­forts to strengthen the ca­pac­ity of the po­lice so that they would be bet­ter able to bring suc­cess­ful cases to court to put away crim­i­nals.

He said work was to be­gin shortly on the old Corn­wall Dairy Bar­racks in Mont­pe­lier, which will be con­verted to have an aug­mented force to sup­port the Area One po­lice struc­ture.

“Mon­tego Bay and western Ja­maica are un­der­manned in terms of po­lice re­sources and the army, and we are mov­ing to treat with a piece of land be­side the cruise ship pier for a coast guard and in­fantry base,” said Mon­tague. “We are tak­ing on board the con­cerns we heard in the com­mu­ni­ties. We want to as­sure the com­mu­nity that we are here and we are here to stay.”

Min­utes af­ter the prime min­is­ter’s press brief­ing, news sur­faced of an­other shoot­ing in the Farm Heights com­mu­nity, re­sult­ing in mul­ti­ple in­juries.

Hours later, there was yet an­other shoot­ing in An­chovy, in which at least one per­son was killed and four in­jured.

While the cir­cum­stances of those in­ci­dents were not read­ily avail­able, the in­creased death toll has brought St James closer to the record 212 mur­ders com­mit­ted in the par­ish last year.

PHOTOS BY ADRIAN FRATER

A fam­ily in the volatile Nor­wood area of St James speaks with Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness (sec­ond right) dur­ing his tour of crime-rav­aged St James yes­ter­day.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Dr Carl Wil­liams (left); Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice (DSP) Clin­ton Moore (sec­ond left), the of­fi­cer in charge of the Mon­tego Hills po­lice sta­tion; DSP Mar­lon Nes­beth (cen­tre), the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer for St James; and As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice War­ren Clarke (right) in di­a­logue with Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness yes­ter­day.

This mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle gives a re­as­sur­ing pres­ence to the res­i­dents of Glen­de­von, where gun­men went on a ram­page last week.

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