Sun | Jan 19, 2020

West Portland violence not political, say police - JCF dismisses suggestion from PNP caretaker about crime

Published:Saturday | November 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Valerie Neita Robertson

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) yesterday brushed aside suggestions from People's National Party (PNP) caretaker for Portland Western Valerie Neita Robertson that political violence had reared its ugly head in the constituency.

Neita Robertson, in a post on social media last month, indicated that her events in the constituency were followed by violent incidents.

Following the post, Daryl Vaz, Portland Western member of Parliament (MP), wrote to the political ombudsman about the comments. An investigation by the political ombudsman is now under way.

However, in a release yesterday, the police stated that since January, 12 murders and five shootings have been reported in the parish, noting that none of the incidents had political undertones or connections. "In fact, an increase in the migration of displaced criminal suspects as well as domestic and rival gang conflicts have led to heightened operations by the Portland police to maintain law and order," the police reported.

"This vigilance to detect and deter displaced criminal suspects resulted in eight men from Denham Town, Kingston, being picked up and processed in Orange Bay, Portland, on August 15, 2018. It was determined that the men were not wanted. They were subsequently released," the release added.


Gang conflicts


According to the JCF, its personnel remains alert to instances of domestic and rival gang conflicts and continues to implement measures to cauterise such occurrences. "In one such incident on August 18, 2018, two men were shot and injured by armed men on foot in the Buff Bay area of Portland. Investigators theorise that the shooting emanated from a long-standing conflict over the control of turf between rival factions within the community," the force stated.

Commenting on JCF's news release, Vaz said: "I'm not surprised at the content of the police findings. I have been MP for 11 years and my track record is there to be examined. Her insinuations (and) innuendos are both dangerous and desperate. I will await the political ombudsman's report."