‘Wicked and un-ja­maican’

Chang, John­son Smith con­demn mur­ders of re­turned Ja­maicans

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE - — Ki­mone Fran­cis

NA­TIONAL Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Dr Horace Chang yes­ter­day con­demned the mur­ders of re­turn­ing res­i­dents Karen Cleary-brown and Bar­bara Find­ley and said that the Gov­ern­ment and his min­istry re­main stead­fast in their man­date to serve and pro­tect all cit­i­zens.

Chang, in the state­ment sent to the me­dia, called the mur­ders “wicked and un-ja­maican”.

He ex­tended con­do­lence to the fam­i­lies and friends of the vic­tims, while not­ing that the “hor­rific acts of vi­o­lence” against cit­i­zens are rep­re­hen­si­ble.

“It is even more trou­bling that, in most cases, these killings are a re­sult of do­mes­tic dis­putes be­tween the vic­tims and per­sons well known to them. It is ir­re­spon­si­ble to sug­gest that these killings are a re­sult of tar­geted at­tacks on our re­turn­ing Ja­maicans. The po­lice re­ports in­di­cate, in­stead, that sev­eral of the mur­ders are com­mit­ted by men who have en­deared them­selves to the vic­tims,” the min­is­ter said.

He was re­fer­ring to a state­ment re­port­edly made by head of the Ja­maica As­so­ci­a­tion for the Re­set­tle­ment of Re­turn­ing Res­i­dents, Per­ci­val La­touche, which urged Ja­maicans over­seas not to re­turn home.

“We have con­firmed the loss of 11 re­turn­ing Ja­maicans over the course of this year. It is to the credit of our po­lice of­fi­cers that all of the ac­cused have been ap­pre­hended. We call on per­sons with in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing any mur­der to tell the po­lice or call Crime Stop and share what you know,” Chang said.

Also yes­ter­day, For­eign Af­fairs and For­eign Trade Min­is­ter Senator Kam­ina John­son Smith reaf­firmed the Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to pro­vide a safe place for all Ja­maicans, fol­low­ing re­cent mur­ders.

John­son Smith and the min­is­ter of state in the min­istry, Pear­nel Charles Jr, said they were deeply sad­dened by the re­ports, ex­pressed their “heart­felt sym­pa­thy” to all the fam­i­lies af­fected, and ad­vised that in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the killings are on­go­ing.

Charles Jr said the po­lice high com­mand is work­ing as­sid­u­ously to bring the per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice, adding that he and John­son Smith ex­pect a com­plete in­ves­ti­ga­tion of these mat­ters. He also urged all cit­i­zens with in­for­ma­tion to con­tact the po­lice.

“I want to re­as­sure the peo­ple of Ja­maica that the Gov­ern­ment re­mains stead­fast in its com­mit­ment to fight­ing the scourge of crime that af­fects ev­ery as­pect of our so­ci­ety. We con­tinue to take a mul­ti­fac­eted ap­proach to crime-fight­ing in mak­ing Ja­maica a safe place for all,” the ju­nior min­is­ter said.

He added that given the unique vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of re­turn­ing res­i­dents, the min­istry has been work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively with crit­i­cal stake­hold­ers in pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion, sup­port and guid­ance to the re­turn­ing res­i­dents com­mu­nity.

The body of 43-year-old Karen Cleary-brown was dis­cov­ered with stab wounds in a shal­low grave in Bosco­bel, St Mary, on Mon­day.

Cleary-brown had re­port­edly re­turned to the is­land — after spend­ing close to 30 years in Eng­land — to build her dream home in the parish when she met her demise.

The de­com­pos­ing body of 48year-old Bar­bara Find­ley was dis­cov­ered close to Prov­i­dence Hous­ing Scheme in Santa Cruz on Wed­nes­day after res­i­dents de­tected a foul smell in bushes close to the en­trance of the hous­ing scheme about 1:00 pm.

Find­ley was re­ported miss­ing last week.

In April, the Ja­maica Ob­server re­ported that the body of 63-year-old Del­roy Walker was found with mul­ti­ple stab wounds at the house he pur­chased at Rio Nuevo Re­sort in Tower Isle, St Mary.

Po­lice told the Ob­server then that a res­i­dent no­ticed a trail of blood lead­ing from the house about 9:15 am on April 19 and raised an alarm. Walker had re­turned to the coun­try from Lon­don eight months prior and his wife was ex­pected to join him in a mat­ter of weeks.

Three months later, the brazen mur­der of a cou­ple sent shock waves through­out the quiet farm­ing com­mu­nity of Mount Pleas­ant in Port­land, leav­ing some to spec­u­late about the mo­tive for the killings.

Florence and Hal­ford An­der­son, who had re­turned to Ja­maica from Eng­land, were both found dead on the morn­ing of June 22. Res­i­dents dis­cov­ered Hal­ford’s body near Mount Pleas­ant Pri­mary School un­der a tree and Florence’s in their fire-bombed home with gun­shot wounds to the up­per body.

The cou­ple, who had been mar­ried for more than 50 years, and who had just re­turned to the is­land, was build­ing their re­tire­ment home.

The mur­ders caused the JCF to is­sue a state­ment out­lin­ing steps to be taken to pro­tect re­turnees. The JCF said that some of the mea­sures which were to be taken would in­clude the es­tab­lish­ment of a point of con­tact for the Di­as­pora to ad­dress spe­cific con­cerns about cases.

The JCF said that con­sid­er­a­tion was be­ing given to the es­tab­lish­ment of a ser­vice to con­duct back­ground checks, on re­quest, of peo­ple who re­turnees wish to em­ploy.

A li­ai­son of­fi­cer would also be ap­pointed, the JCF said, in each po­lice di­vi­sion to mon­i­tor and pro­vide re­turnees with timely feedback on polic­ing mat­ters. A pro­posal for reg­u­lar meet­ings to be held at the di­vi­sional level to en­hance the shar­ing of im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion was also put for­ward.

The po­lice said this was to be aug­mented with a num­ber of in­ves­tiga­tive strate­gies that will pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to cases in­volv­ing re­turnees.

“Our fo­cus on the safety and pro­tec­tion of our re­turn­ing res­i­dents is un­equiv­o­cal. We take all re­ported in­ci­dents of crimes against them se­ri­ously and will fur­ther our work with our part­ners in Gov­ern­ment and non-gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­sure com­mu­ni­ties are safe spaces for all who live, work or visit,” Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice in charge of Crime Selvin Haye said at the time.

In the mean­time, Chang said that the se­cu­rity min­istry has in­creased de­ploy­ment of the se­cu­rity forces for the fes­tive sea­son “to con­tinue to re­duce crimes, es­pe­cially homi­cides”.

Said Chang: “We are, on one hand, sat­is­fied that the homi­cide rate is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion, with a 21 per cent de­crease in mur­ders. But, on the other hand we can­not, and must not as a na­tion, ac­cept these oc­cur­rences as a norm. Let us, this hol­i­day sea­son, re­turn to be­ing each other’s keeper.”

Bri­tish cou­ple Florence and Hal­ford An­der­son who were killed in Mount Pleas­ant, Port­land.

Karen Cleary-brown in hap­pier times

WALKER... The po­lice have charged two peo­ple in re­la­tion to his death.

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