Hunting 'Duppy Film' - Did politician help Jamaica's most wanted escape police dragnet?
After updating the nation almost daily about their quest to capture the country's most wanted man, Marlon 'Duppy Film' Perry, the security forces have gone eerily silent, and efforts to get an update last week proved unusually challenging.
But a Sunday Gleaner source has claimed that the silence of the security forces should be expected, as the word on the ground is that Perry has received assistance from a major political figure and has fled the island.
"The man gone and the police and soldiers know, so that is why them not saying anything. Is him boss who big in politics arrange the boat that moved him after him hid out on the south coast," the source claimed with authority.
While the police say they cannot confirm this claim, it has been more than 250 days since Perry was accused of killing Corporal Kenneth Davis and Constable Craig Palmer in St Thomas, and earned himself the dubious distinction of becoming Public Enemy Number One.
The urgency to capture Perry intensified when he allegedly started sending death threats to members of the force.
During one operation to capture him in Harbour View, St Andrew, the police reported that he fled after being part of a group whose members engaged them in a shoot-out during a massive operation.
One of his cronies was killed in that reported shoot-out and two guns, an Uzi sub-machine, which the cops say is Perry's weapon of choice, and a Glock 9-MM pistol seized.
A $1.5-million bounty was placed on his head, and the security forces vowed that they would soon capture Perry, who they had been after since December 2010. But last week, the chief spokesman for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) would provide no update on the hunt for Duppy Film.
"Unfortunately, I have to direct you to the police as they have primacy on the operation to nab Duppy Film," said Major Basil Jarrett, the JDF's communication officer.
Jarrett declared that he was commanded by his superiors to direct all queries about the search for Perry to the police.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Elan Powell, who heads the Criminal Investigation Branch, was equally unhelpful as he failed to respond to numerous calls and messages for an update despite a promise last Tuesday to get back to our news team.
Last Friday, he referred the newspaper to Assistant Commissioner Winchroy Budhoo, who he said was in charge of the operational aspects of the manhunt.
"I can't, I can't, I don't have an update right now," said Budhoo when contacted yesterday.
"Based on the latest update last week, he is still on the island. That is coming from the intelligence arm so I can't say otherwise," added Budhoo.
Assistant Commissioner Derrick 'Cowboy' Knight, who heads Area 5, which includes St Thomas where Perry normally carried out his criminal acts, also had no information on Perry fleeing the island.
"Up to last week Monday when we met and reviewed issues around him he was still here, somewhere in St Thomas there. So, if he left, it happened between Monday and when you called just now," said Knight.
He accepted that the possibility of Perry fleeing the island was a real one, as the alleged cop killer is known to have ties with criminals in Haiti, and has reportedly travelled to the country on fishing vessels in the past.
In April, Knight had reported the Duppy Film came on the police's watch list in 2010 when he was implicated in a triple murder in St Thomas.
In February 2013, Perry was also accused of being involved in a shooting incident in the parish.
Perry, who originates from St Thomas and was educated at a prominent high school in the parish, is also implicated in a string of rapes, robberies, extortion, and murder-for-hire incidents.
Efforts to nab him were intensified after the December 22 fatal shooting of the two cops on the Poor Man's Corner main road in the parish, with the reward for information leading to his capture increased.
Since then, the security forces have conducted major operations in St Andrew, Clarendon, Spanish Town, St Catherine, and Manchester in the search of the man they said was always "armed and dangerous".
Duppy Film is believed to change his appearance regularly, even resorting to bleaching his skin.