Wed | Nov 22, 2017

War on gangs - Second ZOSO to tackle Denham Town threats

Published:Wednesday | October 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMRyon Jones
These residents of Denham Town show a Jamaica Defence Force soldier their identification in Denham Town, Kingston, after it was declared the second zone of special operations yesterday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) in discussion with Major General Rocky Meade (left), of the Jamaica Defence Force, George Quallo (second left), Commissioner of Police Desmond McKenzie (centre) and National Security Minister Robert Montague (partly hidden) after a press conference on crime at Jamaica House in St Andrew yesterday.
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Twelve gangs wreaking havoc in Denham Town have been cited as the reason for the west Kingston community being declared the second zone of special operations (ZOSO).

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement yesterday during a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister.

The first phase of Denham Town's ZOSO saw a curfew being imposed in the

area from 5 a.m. yesterday to 5 a.m. tomorrow, as a police-military team, led by Senior Superintendent Everal Linton of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Lieutenant Colonel Murphy Pryce of the Jamaica Defence Force taking control of the area.

Holness explained that Denham Town being declared the second ZOSO, some 46 days after the first in Mount Salem, St James, came following "careful consideration".

"The selected zone was deemed to have met the first order criteria for being considered and declared a zone," Holness explained. "Those first order criteria would be ongoing gang warfare, rampant criminality, escalating violence and murder, and a threat to rule of law."

Holness stated that several other communities do, in fact, meet the first-order criteria.

However, for strategic reasons Denham Town was selected.

Police Commissioner George Quallo further explained that there are 12 gangs currently operating in the geographic area declared - the Upsetter Gang, SuperStar, Strikers, Boys on the Bridge/Scare Dem, Scream Corner, Triple Six, Tivoli Gardens/Young Generation, Shooters Hill, New Kids on the Block, One Way, Four Storey and Broiling Gang.

"Since 2015, there has been gang conflict between Tivoli Gardens/Young Generation Gang and the Denham Town Coalition as a result of the coalition's refusal to conform to the Coke family's regime, which has resulted in several murders, shootings and robberies," Quallo said.

"The ongoing gang feud has resulted in increased violence in the area which directly affects the free movement of residents and also has a negative impact of economic and social activities within the communities and surrounding areas."

Quallo further revealed that the violence producers are generally dons and top-tier gang members who dominated the communities through illegal activities such as extortion, armed robbery and contract killings.

"In 2014, there were nine incidents resulting in 10 victims; in 2015, there were nine incidents resulting in nine victims; in 2016, there were 12 incidents resulting in 12 victims; and so far this year, there have been 17 incidents resulting in 17 victims as it relates to murders," Quallo shared.

"Since the shooting and injuring of Leighton Coke, o/c 'Livity', allegedly by members of the Scream Corner and Rich and Famous Gang, there have been several reported incidents, especially between July and August of this year."

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com