Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Mystery surrounds men murdered in Belmont

Published:Tuesday | August 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMHopeton Bucknor/ Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

While some residents in Belmont, Westmoreland, are convinced that the two men killed there on Sunday night were wrongdoers who had sought refuge in their seaside community, the police say they have no evidence to substantiate that claim.

"We have heard the allegation, but based on our own investigation so far, we have not found that to be true," said Superintendent Gary McKenzie, the commanding officer for the Westmoreland police. "However, we can confirm that the men are not from Belmont; they are originally from Spanish Town."

The two men, who were peppered with bullets inside a house in the normally quiet seaside town, were identified as 41-year-old Fitzgerald 'Jarrett' Richards and 33-year-old Dwayne 'Bel Bel' Bell of Four Path Lane in Spanish Town, St Catherine. The police said based on their information, the men were construction workers.

MORE CURIOUS THAN CONCERNED

"Westmoreland is seeing a lot of construction, and you also have construction going on in the other western parishes," said McKenzie. "You will always find people coming into this region in search of jobs, especially in places like Negril. After they have settled, some of these people tend not to go back to places where they are from."

Unlike in most communities where locals would show some amount of grief whenever there is a murder, when The Gleaner visited Belmont yesterday, the residents appeared more curious than concerned, saying they knew very little about the men.

"Me hear seh dem a bad man from Spanish Town who come here to hide out," said a resident, who asked not to be identified. "One a dem deh yah fi a while now, but the other one just come recently. All them do is walk the street, mostly nights. Me neva see none a dem a go a wuk yet."

According to the locals, shortly after 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, they heard a barrage of gunshots and alerted the police. On their arrival, the lawmen found the bodies of Richards and Bell in a concrete-and-board house with multiple gunshot wounds.

In the aftermath of the incident, Dr Wykeham McNeill, the opposition spokesman on tourism and member of parliament for Western Westmoreland, called on the Government to deploy more police to the parish.

"The police have done really well in apprehending several criminals over the past months, but there is a need for more manpower and more vehicles," said McNeill. "We just had the killing of a policeman (Rohan Bucknor), and less than six days later, we are now seeing a double murder."