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You will be caught! St Mary crime chief warns criminals to stay away from parish

Published:Thursday | August 18, 2016 | 8:00 AMYou will be caught!
Deputy Superintendent of Police Dwight Powell.

PORT MARIA, St MARY:

St Mary's new police chief, Deputy Superintendent Dwight Powell, assumed his new post on June 6, just weeks after three high-profile murders were committed in the parish.

The brutal slayings of US missionaries Randy Hentzel and Harold Nichols, followed by the killing of Oracabessa High School student Rushane Murray placed the local force under tremendous pressure. but after arresting and bringing to trial the suspects in both cases, Powell believes his team has proved their worth.

Speaking earlier this week, Powell told The Gleaner: "We managed to solve the murder of the two American missionaries, and I really want to offer commendations to our investigators who, I believe, are some of the best in the world because the FBI guys came here and we, in third-world St Mary, were able to do better than them with all their fancy equipment.

"The men accused of murdering the missionaries have been remanded into custody and are scheduled to go back to court in September, but they are having problems finding attorneys because the case against them is so tight.

"I think it's a good warning: don't come to St Mary to commit crime, because the possibility of getting caught is great. And if you're caught, because of our investigative capabilities, the likelihood of getting acquitted is minimal. One of the maxims I work under is that when someone commits a crime, they must pay. Absolutely no one in St Mary is above the law."

 

SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED

 

Powell claims that although the statistics show major crimes in the parish have reduced significantly over the last five years, the negative publicity generated by the high-profile murders would make it appear otherwise.

He said: "Since the beginning of the year, we have experienced a 28 per cent reduction in major crimes, compared with the same period in 2015, but the perception is different from the reality because of the nature of some of the crimes.

"We've had two more murders than we did this time last year, but with that exception, everything else is trending down. There's been a 50 per cent reduction in larceny; a 43 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults; a 41 per cent reduction in break-ins; and a 22 per cent reduction in shootings."

In addition to complimenting his investigators, Powell praised the team stationed at Castleton who recovered a large haul of M16, 9mm, .380 and AK47ammunition from a location in Devon Pen last weekend, and revealed that plans are under way to relocate the parish capital's police station.

He said: "Last weekend, we had a serious problem when the downstairs of the Port Maria Police Station was overrun by raw sewage, which caused the staff to become very jittery and uncomfortable. The facility is rented from the First Regional Credit Union, who came in and corrected the situation, but I do hope this will accelerate the move to a new facility.

"In regard to the construction of the Port Maria police station, weekly meetings are being held, and $35 million has been identified. and from what I'm hearing on the grapevine, construction is likely to start in the last quarter of this year."

rural@gleanerjm.com