Southside hopes for meaningful change - Shootings, murders, break-ins increase in Kingston Central
As the Crime Monitoring & Oversight Committee (CMOC) yesterday reported aspects of the consensus agreement that has been set and achieved thus far, the social, community and cultural transformation element is being anticipated by residents of central Kingston.
Pointing out that there had been several failed attempts in the past to bring significant changes to the communities, they are hoping this will work this time around.
“The community want transform long time. Dem bring in PMI (Peace Management Initiative), SOE (state of emergency) and others, and we see it nuh work. The killing still a gwan,” a male Southside resident lamented. “Last Friday alone, a two man dead in a South, so when it a go stop? What new dem a go come tell the people? If it will bring the change we seek, then we are for it.”
The Kingston Central Police Division has seen an increase in major crimes this year. Up to November 14, it had recorded 43 murders when compared to 31 for the corresponding period last year – an increase of 38.7 per cent.
Shootings are also up by 44.1 per cent, with 49 incidents for the period this year, compared to 34 up to November 14, 2019.
Rape cases remained the same year on year at 11, whereas robberies are down with 28 incidents this year, compared to 41 last year. Break-ins for this year were up, with 16 reported as opposed to 11 in 2019.
The CMOC was established in August with a mandate to, among other things, set goals aimed at mitigating crime and report to the public.
Central Kingston, according to residents, is an ideal space to pilot social, community and cultural transformation.
“The love nuh deh bout. We see the place change from orange to green, but the same things a happen,” a female resident said, referring to the Jamaica Labour Party’s wresting of the seat from the People’s National Party in the September general election.
“Shot a fire, people a dead, the place nuh safe. Every man a try hold off their corner,” she told The Gleaner.
Residents are on edge because of the latest killings, which they believe could be related.
“People dead a dem place ya easy. Last Friday, a man dead in a the morning and a set a man say somebody who had a bad vibes with the dead man a talk say a long time him fi dead. Him never mek it pass Friday evening. Dem go for him and kill him,” one man shared. “Everybody a look out, and is not for Christmas.”
During yesterday’s CMOC virtual press briefing, Professor Elizabeth Ward, a consultant for the committee, said that the country cannot continue on its deadly path.
“This is going to take all our inputs, all our working together … ,” she stressed. “The community and police relations will have to improve.”
CMOC Chairman Lloyd Distant also said that the transformation of the police force was key to the overall process.
The CMOC said among the goals set and achieved for this quarter were strengthening the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Inspectorate with adequate audit and anti-corruption capability, expediting the appointed day of notice for the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency; the approval and gazetting of the Regulations for the Public Bodies Management Accountability Act and assembling a special task force to review the Procurement Act and to focus on ensuring state resources are not diverted to organised crime or corruption.
Areas of focus include social, community and cultural transformation; Jamaica Constabulary Force transformation; reviewing legislation; tackling corruption; boosting the delivery of justice; strengthening the correctional services; as well as community renewal and urban planning.