Gangsters wild in Westmoreland
An alleged contract killer who escaped from a police lock-up last year is high on a list of criminals causing major trouble for lawmen in the once almost crime-free parish of Westmoreland.
Preliminary figures for last year confirm just over 100 persons killed in the parish, a 113 per cent increase on the 47 murders recorded in 2014, and the police say criminal gangs at war were responsible for most of the killings.
Head of operations for the Westmoreland police, Deputy Superintendent Andrew Nish, told The Sunday Gleaner that while the list of gangsters being sought by the police in the parish is extensive, the 20-year-old who escaped from a police lock-up and one other criminal are the most wanted.
"The most problem that we are having now is this youth, Ricardo Kerr, otherwise called 'Jaw bone', and Jason James, otherwise called 'Daddy P', who operates in the Welcome area," said Nish.
According to Nish, James and his brother, Evroy, have been linked to a recent double murder in the parish.
Kerr, who is of a Waterworks, Westmoreland, address, was among eight persons who cut their way through the roof of the Savanna-la-Mar lock-up during the predawn hours of June 19, last year.
He was being held on charges of robbery with aggravation and wounding with intent.
The police say since his escape, Kerr has been terrorising residents of several communities in Westmoreland while eluding gang rivals who are also after him.
"Kerr operates in the Whithorn space, Waterworks. He is into contract killing, so you find that he is being investigated in several shootings and killings in the general Whithorn space," said Nish.
"He also operates downtown, in the New Market Oval area and when he goes into that space we have to create a buffer between him and some other guys around there," added Nish.
The senior cop also named Matthew Perry; otherwise called 'Cat', and Kevon Smith from Grange Hill among some of the other suspected criminals whose names have come up repeatedly on police blotters recently.
In the meantime, Nish said the police in Westmoreland are under pressure as they act as a buffer between rival gangs in a string of war-troubled communities in the parish.
He listed sections of Grange Hill, 'Russia', Whithorn, downtown Savanna-la-Mar, Williamsfield, Fort William and several communities along Darling Street as problem areas.
Deputy Superintendent David Whyte was recently appointed to head the Westmoreland police. He replaced Superintendent Beau Rigabie.