Fri | Aug 18, 2017

'Killers killing killers' - Montague concerned about gang killings

Published:Friday | January 27, 2017 | 1:00 AMLivern Barrett
Minister of National Security Robert Montague (centre); Brian Bennett-Easy (left), general manager of Digicel; and Troy Cockings, head of product support, FLOW, at the promotion of the Stay Alert app at the minister’s Old Hope Road, St Andrew office, yesterday.

The country's National Security Minister Robert Montague has said that his "greatest concern" with the nearly 100 murders already recorded this year is that nearly half have been gang-related killings. Ninety-two persons have been reported killed across the 19 police divisions islandwide, with just 26 days gone in the year.

"My greatest concern is that a little more than half of that 92 is a result of gang killing," Montague said during a ceremony at his St Andrew offices yesterday to promote greater use of the Stay Alert app.

"Gang members killing gang members, killers killing killers; the lottery scamming, the fight for turf, extortion money."

He asserted that this is a symptom of a much larger problem that is going to require greater social intervention and citizen participation.

"Many of us, we know some of the criminals. We know them. Equally, when it comes to domestic violence, we live in the communities and we hear the quarrels and conflicts next door, but we choose not to get involved," Montague reasoned.

The Stay Alert app, the national security minister suggested, can become an important vehicle to create a network of good citizens to aid law-enforcement agencies in their crime-fighting efforts. The nation's two main telecommunications company, Digicel and FLOW, have agreed to make the app free of cost to smartphone users in Jamaica.

Both companies have also announced that starting in the next two months, the app will be pre-loaded on to all smartphones coming into the island. In addition to providing information on existing laws, the app allows residents to confidentially share information with the police and immediately alert the police to their location if they are in danger.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com