Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Provide no safe haven for gangsters,cops urge Spanish Town residents

Published:Tuesday | November 22, 2016 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
From left: Superintendent of Police Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Corporate Communications Unit; Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, in charge of operations; and Superintendent Courtney Coubrie, head of the Traffic Division; speak with Senior Superintendent Anthony Powell, in charge of the St Catherine North Division; and Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell, in charge of crime, after a press briefing held yesterday at the Office of the Police Commissioner on Old Hope Road in St Andrew yesterday.

As violent killings continue to rock Spanish Town, St Catherine, the police are appealing to residents in and around the area not to shield gangsters in their communities, and encouraged them to steer their children away from a life of crime.

The call came from high-ranking members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force who yesterday participated in a media briefing to give updates on the state of crime in the country.

The briefing took place at the Office of the Police Commissioner on Old Hope Road in St Andrew.

Senior Superintendent of Police Anthony Powell, in charge of the St Catherine North Division, said the police were doing their best to clamp down on the number of deadly shootings occurring in and around Spanish Town by removing a number of high-powered weapons from the streets.


Clansman infighting


The seizure of weapons is something Powell is happy about, despite no arrests following their discovery.

He said most of the killings on the outskirts of Spanish Town were as a result of infighting within the Clansman gang.

"Despite our best efforts, we still see evidence that the warring factions are at each other's throats. Over the past week we have recovered two high-powered firearms in the hotspot area of Spanish Town," Powell said.

"It is important that you provide no safe haven for them in the community. You need to also provide the kind of support for the children to ensure they are not easy prey for gang recruitment."

Powell noted that every effort is being made by the police to tackle gang crime in Spanish Town and surrounding areas, but said a spacious landscape has been a challenge in preventing shootings and apprehending the perpetrators.

"It's not that we are not present in those areas (the outskirts). We are but, for some reason, because the areas are so wide, the (gang) members normally find an opportunities to attack each other out there. These persons are pretty much aware of the modus operandi of their rivals; they know where to find them because of the sort of relationship they shared in the past," Powell said.

"If they are not able to find them at their abode, wherever they meet each other, they are not afraid to shoot each other."


Reprisal attack


The St Catherine North police have carried out several operations in Clansman-dominated areas and have picked up a number of persons believed to be influencing gang activities. The most recent incident occurred Sunday afternoon, in which four men were shot, three fatally, in a suspected Clansman reprisal attack.

"We would have seen an incident played out in Thompson Pen. What I can say [is that] it was one of those incidents that played out based on conflict that exists within the Clansman gang," he said.

Powell took the opportunity to remind Spanish Town businessmen and women that extortion was a major funder of gang activity and urged them to give up the gangsters who attempt to extract money from them.

"Despite the fact that we have been appealing to business persons to come forward, as it relates to acts of extortion, we are not getting a lot of traction with that. Suffice to say, at present, we have two cases before the court where persons were charged for extortion in Spanish Town. I am hoping that this information will encourage some of our business persons operating out there, (that) if they are being approached to pay extortion, we are asking them to come forward," he stressed.

All in all, Powell said police personnel would be out in full force, especially during the festive season. He declared that he was not expecting a bloody Christmas in Spanish Town.