Clarendon crisis - Police kept busy as killings in parish run into triple digits
In the past week, the parish of Clarendon recorded at least 10 murders, including the slaying of two children. Killings in the parish, which, before the latest incidents, stood at 93 since the start of the year, will now be pushed into triple digits.
On Saturday, the police were kept busy in the community of Farm, Effortville, when three murders took place in just three hours.
While processing the murder scene of 52-year-old Patrick Doeman, a carpenter of Bucknor district in the parish, the police were called to another scene in the same community, where 25-year-old Sadique Brown and a man identified only as 'Oney' were shot and killed. Three others were also injured in that same incident.
Reports are that the killings could be reprisals for the murder of six-year-old Timothy Bassaragh, who was killed on Thursday in that community.
Doeman was related to one of the alleged shooters of the youngster.
Earlier in the evening on Saturday, a robber was shot and killed by a licensed firearm holder after holding up fruit vendors in the vicinity of the Rio Minho Bridge along the Bustamante Highway.
The past few days have been bloody in the parish, with murders taking place in Race Course, where two persons died, including a 13-year-old Central High School student, and Lionel Town recording a triple murder.
Farm is one of the division's hotspots and is known for murders, shootings, and robberies. Police say there is an ongoing feud between rival gangs, leading to constant shootings and reprisals in the area.
The Clarendon police are now seeking the assistance of the military and Mobile Reserve to step up policing in the community.
Commander for the parish Senior Superintendent Vendolyn Cameron-Powell told The Gleaner that "the place is covered with illegal guns".
She said that several gang-related conflicts are ongoing in places like Farm, Bucknor, South Clarendon, and a new one in Sandy Bay, which started with persons in lock-up.
She also said that the problem has been intensified, with Clansman gangsters from Spanish Town, St Catherine, getting involved in feuds in Sandy Bay.
"Citizens need to work with us by giving what they know about illegal guns," she said.
Ministers fraternal conscious of crisis, 'Operation Hope 2' being planned
President of the May Pen Ministers Fraternal, Pastor Garry Knowles, said that the group is aware of the growing concerns surrounding crime and violence in Clarendon.
"As a matter of fact, it is a permanent item on our agenda at meetings as we grapple with the issues," he told The Gleaner.
Knowles said that the fraternal is currently in dialogue with the Errol Rattray Evangelistic Association to plan Phase Two of Operation Hope, which he hopes will have a more far-reaching and sustainable impact than the first phase.
"The issue of crime and violence is multifaceted and will take not only the Church to solve it, but a coming together of those institutions that hold the community at heart," he said.