Sun | Sep 27, 2020

What SOE? - Faith in security clampdown cracks as killing spree wracks White Wing

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 12:00 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
There was heavy security presence in the White Wing community in Olympic Gardens, St Andrew South yesterday.

Confidence in a state of emergency (SOE) in the violence-plagued St Andrew South Police Division was shaken yesterday amid a spate of six murders in 48 hours in a low-income section near Olympic Way.

Wails of “comprehensive blood covering” cracked the sombreness of yesterday morning as a prayer warrior mourned a double murder in the White Wing neighbourhood.

That bloodbath followed one murder on Monday and a triple killing on Tuesday night even with the heightened presence of patrolling soldiers and police. 

The police division has been under the security crackdown since July 7.

In Tuesday’s flare-up, three men identified as Andrew ‘Boom’ Clarke, Mark Pinnock, and Fidel Wade were killed after armed men invaded White Wing and sprayed them with bullets.

All three men, believed to be in their late 40s to early 50s, reportedly died on the spot.

“We fraid. Everybody weh drop (dead) innocent. After the first killing Monday, police and soldier fi deh ya. Dem wait til three more dead yesterday (Tuesday),” a woman who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal told The Gleaner yesterday.

“Which SOE? We affi secure weself. Taxpayers’ money a spend fi wah? What is SOE if police and soldier deh deh so and triple murder gwaan ya so?”

The widow of one of the deceased man was too distraught to speak.

A daughter of one of the deceased men was forced to brave exams yesterday, The Gleaner understands. She is a first-year university student. 

Councillor for the Greenwich Town division Karl Blake visited the community and met with the residents.

“This section of the White Wing community was peaceful. I don’t know why the recent attack on the community. You hearing bits and pieces of fighting, but you don’t know where it is coming from. The attack on the community with these big responsible people is unwarranted, and the people, if they have information, need to give it to the police because that is the only way this can be solved,” he said.

Bigger than police

“It’s not looking good for the SOE because if it is state of emergency and this can be taking place, can you imagine if we didn’t have a SOE? Maybe it would be more. I am wondering if this crime something is bigger than the police.”

The Senate, on October 4, approved a 90-day extension of the SOE for St Andrew South.

Leader of Government Business and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith said that while the SOE has had successes, the division is not yet where it needs to be.

“Since the implementation of the SOE over the comparative period of July 7 to September 28 (a period of 84 days) when compared to the equivalent period of April 14 to July 6, murders in the St Andrew South Police Division have reduced by 58 per cent, from 53 to 22,” she stated.  

Since the start of the year, the division has recorded the highest number of murders and shootings in the country, with 127 and 136, respectively.

Murders in the police division have risen by nine, year-on-year, from 118 to 127, up to October 12.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Devon Watkis said that he believes that the police will put a lid on crime in the division.

“I still wish to appeal to the persons who know where each other are at different times – since they were friends before and now are in conflict – to stop the killing. Stop the killing and seek intervention,” Watkis pleaded.