Commish assures Chinese of crime-free Christmas
Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
THE NATION'S TOP COP has revealed that the police have crafted a strategy that will ensure a crime-free Christmas in the downtown Kingston shopping district.
However, Police Commissioner Carl Williams did not divulge details of the strategy yesterday, even as he sought to reassure nervous Chinese business operators, who have complained of a string of break-ins and robberies in recent weeks.
"We are pretty sure that we will be able to control these incidents ... . We are going to ensure that we have, in this area, a crime-free Christmas period," Williams assured Chinese Ambassador Dong XiaoJun after they visited a number of Chinese-operated businesses in sections of downtown.
Williams, however, indicated that increased use of electronic security systems and police patrols would form part of the strategy.
He also promised to hold further discussions with Chinese officials "to inform them of the initiatives we are putting in place so that we can get everyone working together".
The visit by the police commissioner and the Chinese ambassador drew criticism from local vendors, who complained that their concerns were not getting the same attention. The vendors complained that extortion and robberies were commonplace for them.
"We nuh matter again. Dis a Chinese country now," said one woman who was selling agricultural produce along Princess Street.
While denying that assertion, Williams pointed out that the vendors would also benefit from the security strategy that is to be rolled out for the busy Christmas season.
"I want to make it clear that what we are doing will benefit the Chinese community, but it is for the security of everyone who uses these streets. We have to ensure that the vendors and the shoppers and the motorists are free to come and go as they like," he underscored.
Members of the Dong Guang Association, a Chinese welfare group that represents the interest of their compatriots in Jamaica, told The Gleaner that in recent weeks, robbers had been targeting several Chinese-operated businesses in the downtown Kingston area.
One woman, speaking through an interpreter, revealed that two weeks ago, robbers gained entry to her wholesale by smashing a hole in the roof. They stole cash and goods.
The police commissioner said he also got (unofficial) reports of similar robberies other wholesales, but noted that most of those incidents had gone unreported to the police.
"We are going to encourage them to report more so we can get a full scope of what the problem is, and then we will implement the measures that we have been consulting on," he said.