The increased presence of the security forces in the Eastern Kingston Police Division under the State of Public Emergency (SOE) has put residents at ease, and they are now able to go about their normal lives without fear.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced the SOE on January 26 to quell rising crime in the Division.
Speaking in the Upper House on Friday (February 7), Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said that 11 days into the SOE citizens “have started to experience a level of normalcy that has been absent from the [area] for far too long”.
“The citizens have begun to move around once more. They can once again open their shops and they can go to work… children can play again,” she noted.
Mrs. Johnson Smith was piloting the Emergency Powers (Continuance) Resolution 2020, which was approved by the Senators, paving the way for the extension of the security operation until April 25.
She noted that the SOE is crucial to addressing increasing criminal activity, including gang conflicts and murders in the Division.
She said that the spate of inter- and intra-gang feuds, which extended across several communities, had impeded public commute along major thoroughfares, restricted children’s attendance at school; prevented honest, law-abiding citizens from attending their workplaces and limited citizens’ general movement within their communities.
“Over the first 25 days of this year, 11 murders, eight shootings and three robberies took place within that Division. The Government had to respond swiftly and responsibly in order to cauterise this escalation in major criminal activity,” she said.
Mrs. Johnson Smith told the members that since the implementation of the enhanced security measure, the Kingston Eastern Division “has been demonstrating promising results”.
She said there has been “no report of a single murder or shooting” and a major housing project, which was suspended in September 2019 due to an outbreak of gang violence, is now set to restart, given the additional security presence in the area.
In addition, a total of 90 persons were taken into custody, of which 13 were detained and 77 released after processing.
The security forces have recovered an M16 rifle and more than 100 offensive weapons.
Senator Johnson Smith reminded that while SOEs “do not comprise a quick fix…they do deliver immediate impact”.
“The SOE is a necessary and constitutionally permitted measure… which helps to “cauterise and to control the literal bleeding which takes place in communities as a result of gang activity,” she said.
Mrs. Johnson Smith is encouraging residents in the area to call Crime Stop at 113 or the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) tip line at 837-8888 to report criminal activity, noting that the lines are “completely confidential and have never been breached”.
“We encourage persons in the community to share what they know and to help the security forces to remove the guns from their communities, to help the security forces keep them and their children safe,” she implored.
Fifteen Senators voted to extend the SOE, with one abstaining. Four members were absent.
The extension was approved in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (February 4)
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A man, said to be a teacher was arrested on Thursday after he walked into the Elletson Road police station with a loaded illegal gun, pretending to a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force
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The Police High Command is condemning an incident in which a Police Constable was mowed down by a public passenger vehicle at the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Worthington Avenue on Thursday, January 23.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, has condemned the recent actions of persons placing graffiti with anti-Jew, anti-Semitic statements, in and around the city of Montego Bay.
A team of officers assigned to the St. Mary Police Division seized 24 rounds of ammunition during an operation on Guptar Lane, Annotto Bay, St. Mary on Monday, January 20.
Reports from the Annotto Bay Police are that about 2:47 p.m., they were in the area when a premises was searched ammunition was seized. No one was arrested in relation to this seizure.
Four men, including two brothers, died in a motor vehicle accident which occurred along a section of The Hague main road, in the parish of Trelawny, on Sunday morning.
Detectives at the Constant Spring Police Station in St. Andrew arrested and charged 23-year-old Shauguelle Clarke, otherwise called ‘Quado’, a recording artiste of Buff Bay, Portland with Murder and Arson.
Clarke was charged for the murder of 30-year-old Miguel Williams in Sterling Castle Heights, St. Andrew on April 17, 2019, after he turned himself in to the Police accompanied by his Attorney on Tuesday, January 14.
Quada who is best known on the entertainment circuit for his singles More Money More Life, New Gyal Alert and Hail, is the second person to be arrested and charged in relation to the murder of Williams’.
In December, 30-year-old Andrew Breakcliffe of Sterling Castle Heights was also charged.
Reports are that about 3:45 p.m., Williams was allegedly beaten, set ablaze and his house torched by Clarke and others.
Williams is the man whom, it is alleged, was involved in the rape and slaying of eight-year-old Shantae Skyers whose decomposing was found in a section of the Sterling Castle Heights community in April last year.
She had been missing for several days after she did not return home from school.
He was charged following a question and answer session with detectives.
Clarke joins fellow accused 30-year-old Andrew Breakcliffe, otherwise called ‘Grinch’, of a Sterling Castle Heights address who was also charged with murder and Arson in December 2019.
The court date for Williams has not yet been finalized.
Investigations are ongoing.
A member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) was involved in a murder-suicide which took place in Portmore early this morning.
While unable to reveal his identity, a JDF spokesperson said the individual has been a member of the JDF for 12-13 years.
“Typically when something like this happens, the JDF works closely with the police not only in assisting with the investigation, but also in the management of grief and counselling of the family members that were left behind,” the spokesperson said.
Investigations into the incident are ongoing.