Military-police presence thwarts gang rivalry - Jarrett
Despite the current upsurge in violence and murder being experienced in some areas of the island, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are confident that their presence in Jamaica's main trouble spots is helping to contain the situation.
At present, both the police and soldiers have troops strategically located in key hotspots across the country, acting as a buffer between rival gangs that are out to destroy each other. According to Major Basil Jarrett, civil military cooperation and media affairs officer for the JDF, the numbers would have been far worse had it not been for the strong presence of the security forces.
"Right now, we have a tense situation in Denham Town and Tivoli Gardens as rival gangs grapple for ownership and control of turf in west Kingston," said Jarrett.
"These men have no reluctance to attack each other in the community and so our presence forces them to reconsider and reassess their options. As we have seen, this has by no means removed their determination to shoot at and kill each other, but with our troops on the ground, it does make it a bit more difficult for them."
Frequent contact with criminals
The presence of the security forces in the communities has not only compromised the activities of the rival factions, but has also led to frequent contact between soldiers, police and criminals.
"Just last night (Thursday)," Jarrett noted, "There was contact between a JDF patrol team and gunmen in the vicinity of Tulip Lane in Denham Town, when gunmen opened fire on the patrol team. Fortunately, no innocent civilians were hurt in the exchange, but this demonstrates the frustration of the gunmen and their willingness to engage us as a result of our interfering presence."
Nonetheless, Jarrett noted that JDF soldiers are well trained and equipped to operate in dense, built-up areas such as west Kingston and, as such, take maximum precaution at all times to ensure the safety of innocent civilians in the areas in which they operate.