Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Lucea Mayor expresses concern about crime

Published:Monday | December 19, 2016 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller

Western Bureau:

The crime situation in the parish of Hanover, in general, and the capital town of Lucea, in particular, was the subject of the opening remarks of chairman of the Hanover Municipal Corporation and Mayor of Lucea Sherridan Samuels as he addressed a special council meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation on Thursday, December 15, in Lucea.

The council meeting is the first official one to be held since the swearing in of the seven councillors of the Hanover Municipal Corporation on Thursday, December 8, when Samuels was selected as mayor by his peers.

"I have read in a report that while other crimes are going down in the parish, shooting and murders are really going up. It is not safe right now. The parish is not safe and we at the council, as councillors, have to sit down and discuss and try to engage the security forces and also the citizens of this parish as to how we can get everyone involved and try to remedy the situation", he stated.

He was making reference to recent Gleaner reports quoting the Superintendent of Police in charge of the Hanover division, Arthel Colley, as saying that all major crimes in the parish are on a downward trajectory, except for shootings and murders. The police superintendent went on to blame that situation on four active gangs within the parish.

Superintendent Colley then made mention of several measures to be implemented by the security forces in the parish to try and curb the situation.

Councillor for the Lucea division in the Hanover Municipal Corporation, representing the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Easton Edwards, in an interview with The Gleaner immediately following the meeting, noted that: "Nobody can be happy with the crime situation in the country, not only Hanover, but Jamaica in general, and I think that we need to, as a country, those of us who have responsibilities, we need to sit down and have a discussion as to how we can approach this."

When asked about Lucea, in particular, Edwards said that an effort involving a combination of the police, the political directorate and the church needs to come together, go into the communities and interact with the youngsters.

"They are close communities. They are not far in terms of miles, and we know who these people are. We just need to start a conversation because what is happening is reprisal killings, and I know that if we start a discussion and we are honest with each other, we can curb what is happening here," he stated.

When asked if he was proposing a meeting with the known gang members in the communities, Edwards said: "If that is what it takes, then we will have to because if they are the ones that are posing the problems, we need to start with them because they are known."

He warned against playing the hypocrite and allowing the situation to fester and get from bad to worse.