Mon | Jan 27, 2020

Spanish Town businesses happy with Miller verdict

Published:Wednesday | December 4, 2019 | 12:35 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer

As Tesha Miller was found guilty of accessory before and after the fact to the 2008 murder of then chairman of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, Douglas Chambers, residents and business operators in Spanish Town, St Catherine, yesterday pondered what the conviction would mean for the Old Capital.

During the trial, the Crown’s witness, a self-proclaimed former member of the Spanish Town-based Clansman Gang, said that Miller told him that Chambers’ murder was a contract killing.

He also identified Miller as the leader of the gang and outlined the hierarchy of the criminal organisation, in which he was an area leader.

Miller, however, denied knowing the witness and asserted that he was not involved in the killing.

As The Gleaner sought reactions to the verdict, residents, business operators and religious leaders were cautious in their statements as they wondered whether the conviction would deal a severe blow to the gang, which they said still extorts them with impunity.

One prominent business leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Gleaner that the entire business community was satisfied the outcome of the case.

“Yes, we are pleased with this verdict, not only for the message it sends to other gang leaders and their members that they will one day pay for their crimes, but the idea of knowing that the head of the stream is decapitated, which, in all aspects, is a blow to the operation,” he said.

Another businessman said that even with Miller being incarcerated for some time now, gangsters had not released the business community from their fearsome grip.

“I am not for one minute saying that the verdict is not significant, but members of the gang are still operating in St Catherine, Spanish Town in particular, with impunity. However, I think this verdict will assist the police in their effort to further dismantle the gang,” he told The Gleaner.

The fear factor has also gripped the religious community. When our news team contacted a prominent church leader who has been a vocal advocate for peace in Spanish Town, he was tight-lipped.

“I will not touch this one,” was his immediate response. “I just will not touch it.”

Residents were also muted, citing a fear of reprisal against them or their family members.

Efforts by The Gleaner to get reactions from the head of the St Catherine North Police, Beau Rigabie, were unsuccessful. However, the security forces maintained an increased presence in Spanish Town throughout the day.