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St James bleeds as gunmen wreak havoc - Eight killings in a week, inclusive of double murders

Published:Wednesday | March 30, 2016 | 3:00 AMAdrian Frater

Western Bureau:

With the guns again barking with impunity and the spate of murders reaching frightening levels, fear is once again gripping many St James communities.

"This is too much to bear ... nine murders in seven days," said an elderly woman as she joined curious onlookers at a murder scene along the Salt Spring main road on Sunday.

"I am scared, I am frightened, I am worried and I am frustrated. Too much killing, too many illegal guns," she lamented.

Despite the Police High Command's effort to bring in additional personnel, including members of the Jamaica Defence Force, gunmen continue to wreak havoc.

In the week leading into the Easter weekend, the parish had eight murders, inclusive of two double murders.

"What is happening in St James is just unbelievable. The simplest of disputes ends with persons being killed ... so much senseless killings," said Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor, the commanding officer for St James.

"As the police, we can only do so much and no more. We can't be everywhere at the same time. People need to start settling their disputes without violence."

Amid the carnage last weekend, Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams visited several communities in St James, to include Anchovy, where there were two double murders on Good Friday.

He sought to reassure residents that the police were making every effort to bring the killers to justice.

 

POLICING STRATEGIES

 

The commissioner also stated that the current crime-fighting strategies will be reviewed. He also promised that the parish would get additional resources to battle lawlessness.

"We will be looking at the existing policing strategies to see how well they are working, while at the same time we will be looking at ways to make them even more efficient so that we can properly curtail murders in this St James Police Division," said Williams.

"We are also committed to sending some more resources out here (St James) ... more vehicles, more manpower. We also have some other techniques which we will be employing," added the commissioner.

Unlike in former times when the Montego Bay business district was somewhat insulated from gun violence, armed thugs are now showing up just about anywhere. Two weeks ago, thugs challenged a police patrol at the intersection of St James and Creek streets, resulting in one policeman being shot and injured.

At last count, St James had recorded more than 40 murders since the start of the year, making it the island's bloodiest police division.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com