NO PER­MITS for Christ­mas!

Po­lice to re­strict party events in high-crime ar­eas for hol­i­day sea­son

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Corey Robin­son Staff Re­porter

LOT­TERY SCAM­MERS and other or­gan­ised crim­i­nals look­ing to laun­der money through street dances and other pub­lic en­ter­tain­ment events can ex­pect more road­blocks this Christ­mas sea­son, as the po­lice prom­ise stricter scru­tiny in the grant­ing of party per­mits.

In fact, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, per­mits will be de­nied for ar­eas that have a high crime rate and that are a po­ten­tial se­cu­rity risk.

Since Jan­uary, more than 920 peo­ple have been mur­dered across the is­land. The ma­jor­ity of killings oc­curred in the St James, Claren­don, West­more­land and Kingston West po­lice di­vi­sions, where a deadly mix­ture of gang con­flicts and com­mu­nity si­lence ren­der polic­ing hellish.

Against this back­ground, some di­vi­sional com­man­ders say they will be ap­ply­ing more strin­gent checks on the pro­mot­ers, their fund­ing, and their events, prior to grant­ing per­mis­sion for dances, par­ties and en­ter­tain­ment events. Where there are se­cu­rity con­cerns, per­mits will be de­nied.

“We will look at the pro­mot­ers, es­pe­cially at this time. We are not go­ing to al­low peo­ple to use these events as a means of le­git­imis­ing their ill-got­ten gains as a mat­ter of money laun­der­ing,” warned Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Mar­lon Nes­beth, head of the St James Di­vi­sion, which has been plagued by deadly lot­tery scam­mers, who have racked up more than 200 mur­ders since Jan­uary.

Heavy con­tin­gents of po­lice and sol­diers were sum­moned to St James in Septem­ber after gun­men killed more than 15 peo­ple al­most tit for tat in one week. The in­ci­dents sparked pub­lic out­cry for a state of emer­gency in the west­ern par­ish, and for more dra­co­nian mea­sures against the cul­prits.

The po­lice say lot­tery scam­mers and other money laun­der­ers splurge huge sums on ex­pen­sive sound sys­tems, liquor, cars,and also burn United States notes as part of their party ex­pe­ri­ence. Some even spend huge

We will look at the pro­mot­ers, es­pe­cially at this time. We are not go­ing to al­low peo­ple to use these events as a means of le­git­imis­ing their ill-got­ten gains as a mat­ter of money laun­der­ing.

sums on witch­craft, drink­ing blood from skulls for pro­tec­tion against their neme­ses. Dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, the rev­elry and huge ex­pen­di­ture in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly.

“If there is a mur­der, we must know the mo­tive, the pro­file of the vic­tims, and there are a whole lot of other fac­tors. If it is a sit­u­a­tion of gang war­fare, we could ex­pect reprisals and other such acts. All those things will have to be con­sid­ered,” con­tin­ued Nes­beth, whose ju­ris­dic­tion en­cir­cles the hot­bed Glen­de­von, Salt Spring, Nor­wood and Flanker com­mu­ni­ties.

“We have been look­ing at some places that have not, in the weeks go­ing up to Christ­mas, been overly af­fected or overly in­fested with crime. So it’s pretty much up to some mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and how they work with the po­lice,” Nes­beth con­tin­ued, ac­knowl­edg­ing that he recog­nised peo­ple’s rights to fes­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, hence he was open for dis­cus­sion with pro­mot­ers.


Pro­mot­ers in Ray­mond’s dis­trict in Hayes, Claren­don, where 53-year-old Ger­shan Dixon and Natasha Lewish were shot dead as they stood on a road­side; and nearby Frank­field, where a 37year-old farmer was gunned down in­side his home, both on Mon­day, will have it par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult as well, as these com­mu­ni­ties are part of what head of the di­vi­sion, Su­per­in­ten­dent Ven­dolyn Cameron-Pow­ell, de­scribed as ex­tended crime scenes.

“We don’t al­low our ci­ti­zens to have dances and par­ties where we record se­ri­ous crimes and vi­o­lence. I al­ways tell my ci­ti­zens, any­where that we have to draw the yel­low tape it is my crime scene, and I don’t al­low ci­ti­zens to dance and party on my crime scene; it’s my in­ves­ti­ga­tion zone,” CameronPow­ell told The Sun­day Gleaner.

Claren­don has recorded more than 110 mur­ders be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber, a steady in­crease from 99 per­sons killed in 2015 and 62 in 2014, for the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod.

“We strate­gise. We give per­sons per­mis­sion based on the cli­mate. Com­mu­ni­ties in Cen­tral and South Claren­don are the ar­eas where we have recorded high crimes. We also have some in the north­ern parts. These are com­mu­ni­ties that we will be look­ing very closely at when it comes on to ap­pli­ca­tions to keep events,” ex­plained Cameron-Pow­ell.

Mean­while, Su­per­in­ten­dent Howard Cham­bers, head of the crime man­age­ment team for the gritty Kingston West Di­vi­sion, which has recorded more than 60 mur­ders since the start of the year – pri­mar­ily from two gang ri­val­ries in­volv­ing men from Tivoli Gar­dens, Den­ham Town, Matthews and Luke lanes – said the onus was on the res­i­dents.

“The per­mits should not be a prob­lem, pro­vided that the space is calm. If the com­mu­ni­ties can stay calm for this month then that will be an en­cour­age­ment to con­sider per­mits for De­cem­ber,” he stated.

The coun­try was out­raged ear­lier this month when gun­men in­volved in the two ri­val­ries be­gan turn­ing their guns on chil­dren, killing two-year-old Demario Whyte of Luke Lane and 15-year-old Jazz­ianne Cole of Tulip Lane, among other vic­tims. This will also be a fac­tor, said Cham­bers.

“Where there is vi­o­lence, there will be no per­mits,” he stressed. “We will carry out back­ground checks on the pro­mot­ers, plus they will also be in­ter­viewed by our in­tel­li­gence unit and other port­fo­lio of­fi­cers.”

But even as Cham­bers ex­pressed his sen­ti­ments, res­i­dents of Tivoli Gar­dens and its en­vi­rons were last week still fear­ing reprisals, fol­low­ing the killing of sev­eral ‘kil­las’ in re­cent months. Among them is 20-year-old Steve Allen, oth­er­wise called ‘Frenchie’, who was fin­gered as the main sus­pect in the killing of a fiveyear-old girl in Den­ham Town in Septem­ber.


Ap­pli­ca­tions for per­mits are to be made to di­vi­sional com­man­ders 10 days be­fore the event. The di­vi­sional com­man­ders have ab­so­lute au­thor­ity over the grant­ing of any per­mit, but per­sons who are de­nied can ap­peal di­rectly to the po­lice com­mis­sioner. Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Dr Carl Wil­liams said such ap­peals were usu­ally few. “Mostly, peo­ple don’t ap­peal, but in the odd cases where they do, it comes up to me. Some of them we al­low and some we don’t, based on the grounds on which the ap­peals are made,” Com­mis­sioner Wil­liams said. “If the event is likely to be very high risk and if there is any be­lief that the se­cu­rity ar­range­ments can­not be ad­e­quately made, then we might want to turn that down,” he added, not­ing that his de­ci­sions are usu­ally sup­port­ive of that made by the di­vi­sional com­man­ders.

How­ever, con­trary to the com­mis­sioner’s in­di­ca­tions, a pro­moter in one St An­drew com­mu­nity sang praises to the heav­ens after he was al­lowed by the po­lice to re­lo­cate his party to a nearby sec­tion of the com­mu­nity, after gun­men in­jured three per­sons dur­ing a drive-by shoot­ing near the venue.

This was after one po­lice­man re­peat­edly ex­plained the con­stab­u­lary pro­to­col not to al­low any par­ties in the im­me­di­ate lo­cale of a crime scene.

His su­pe­rior, Su­per­in­ten­dent Arthur Brown, was ob­vi­ously un­aware of his of­fi­cer’s ac­tions when con­tacted last week.

“Any com­mu­nity, if it is not sta­ble [then] no event will be per­mit­ted. Ad­di­tion­ally, if we are over­run by an in­flux of ap­pli­ca­tions for events and we are not able to po­lice these events, we will not grant per­mis­sion,” Brown stressed.

We will carry out back­ground checks on the pro­mot­ers, plus they will also be in­ter­viewed by our in­tel­li­gence unit and other port­fo­lio of­fi­cers.

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