Pro­vide no safe haven for gang­sters, cops urge Span­ish Town res­i­dents

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer ja­son.cross@glean­erjm.com

AS VI­O­LENT killings con­tinue to rock Span­ish Town, St Cather­ine, the po­lice are ap­peal­ing to res­i­dents in and around the area not to shield gang­sters in their com­mu­ni­ties, and en­cour­aged them to steer their chil­dren away from a life of crime.

The call came from high­rank­ing mem­bers of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force who yes­ter­day par­tic­i­pated in a me­dia brief­ing to give up­dates on the state of crime in the coun­try.

The brief­ing took place at the Of­fice of the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner on Old Hope Road in St Andrew.

Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice An­thony Pow­ell, in charge of the St Cather­ine North Di­vi­sion, said the po­lice were do­ing their best to clamp down on the num­ber of deadly shoot­ings oc­cur­ring in and around Span­ish Town by re­mov­ing a num­ber of high-pow­ered weapons from the streets.

CLANSMAN INFIGHTING

The seizure of weapons is some­thing Pow­ell is happy about, de­spite no ar­rests fol­low­ing their dis­cov­ery.

He said most of the killings on the out­skirts of Span­ish Town were as a result of infighting within the Clansman gang.

“De­spite our best ef­forts, we still see ev­i­dence that the war­ring fac­tions are at each other’s throats. Over the past week we have re­cov­ered two high-pow­ered firearms in the hotspot area of Span­ish Town,” Pow­ell said.

“It is im­por­tant that you pro­vide no safe haven for them in the com­mu­nity. You need to also pro­vide the kind of sup­port for the chil­dren to en­sure they are not easy prey for gang re­cruit­ment.”

Pow­ell noted that ev­ery ef­fort is be­ing made by the po­lice to tackle gang crime in Span­ish Town and sur­round­ing ar­eas, but said a spa­cious land­scape has been a chal­lenge in pre­vent­ing shoot­ings and ap­pre­hend­ing the per­pe­tra­tors.

“It’s not that we are not present in those ar­eas (the out­skirts). We are but, for some rea­son, be­cause the ar­eas are so wide, the (gang)

mem­bers nor­mally find an op­por­tu­ni­ties to at­tack each other out there. These per­sons are pretty much aware of the modus operandi of their ri­vals; they know where to find them be­cause of the sort of re­la­tion­ship they shared in the past,” Pow­ell said.

“If they are not able to find them at their abode, wher­ever they meet each other, they are not afraid to shoot each other.”

REPRISAL AT­TACK

The St Cather­ine North po­lice have car­ried out sev­eral op­er­a­tions in Clansman-dom­i­nated ar­eas and have picked up a num­ber of per­sons be­lieved to be in­flu­enc­ing gang ac­tiv­i­ties. The most re­cent in­ci­dent oc­curred Sun­day af­ter­noon, in which four men were shot, three fa­tally, in a sus­pected Clansman reprisal at­tack.

“We would have seen an in­ci­dent played out in Thomp­son Pen. What I can say [is that] it was one of those in­ci­dents that played out based on con­flict that ex­ists within the Clansman

gang,” he said.

Pow­ell took the op­por­tu­nity to re­mind Span­ish Town busi­ness­men and women that ex­tor­tion was a ma­jor fun­der of gang ac­tiv­ity and urged them to give up the gang­sters who at­tempt to ex­tract money from them.

“De­spite the fact that we have been ap­peal­ing to busi­ness per­sons to come for­ward, as it re­lates to acts of ex­tor­tion, we are not get­ting a lot of trac­tion with that. Suf­fice to say, at present, we have two cases be­fore the court where per­sons were charged for ex­tor­tion in Span­ish Town. I am hop­ing that this in­for­ma­tion will en­cour­age some of our busi­ness per­sons op­er­at­ing out there, (that) if they are be­ing ap­proached to pay ex­tor­tion, we are ask­ing them to come for­ward,” he stressed.

All in all, Pow­ell said po­lice

per­son­nel would be out in full force, espe­cially dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son. He de­clared that he was not ex­pect­ing a bloody Christ­mas in Span­ish Town.

RICARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

From left: Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice Stephanie Lind­say, head of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force’s Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Unit; Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Calvin Allen, in charge of op­er­a­tions; and Su­per­in­ten­dent Court­ney Coubrie, head of the Traf­fic Di­vi­sion; speak with Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent An­thony Pow­ell, in charge of the St Cather­ine North Di­vi­sion; and As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Ealan Pow­ell, in charge of crime, af­ter a press brief­ing held yes­ter­day at the Of­fice of the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner on Old Hope Road in St Andrew yes­ter­day.

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