Sun | Dec 17, 2017

More special-ops zones needed in St James, says MoBay mayor

Published:Tuesday | September 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Homer Davis

WESTERN BUREAU:

Councillor Homer Davis, mayor of Montego Bay, has praised the efforts of the police in instituting the zone of special operations (ZOSO) initiative currently under way in the Mount Salem community, and he is hoping similar action will soon be taken in other sections of St James.

"Overall, I think it is serving its purpose, and I am hoping it will be replicated elsewhere in the parish of St James at the appropriate time," Davis said in reviewing the ongoing operation in Mount Salem, during an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared Mount Salem, which has reportedly recorded 54 of the 200 murders in St James since January, as the site for the first ZOSO, following the passage of the Zones of Special Operations Act in July.

Since the commencement of ZOSO in the troubled community, 12 persons have been taken into custody by the police, including one of the most wanted men in St James. The operation is expected to continue for at least another 55 days.

Addressing criticisms of the ZOSO in Mount Salem, where persons have said that the community should not have been targeted for such operations, Davis said that the initiative was a necessity to address the parish's growing murder rate.

"We have 200 murders for the year, and it is untenable. There is no doubt that we have been killing far too many people, so whether it is Mount Salem, Montego Bay or some other place, I think a lot of areas in St James can come under such a microscope," said the mayor.

"We must work with the police, other law enforcement, other law-abiding citizens, and make St James a peaceful place where all of us can coexist and live in happiness and harmony."