Political reps condemn soaring murder rate
Derrick Kellier, member of parliament for South St James, and Homer Davis, mayor of Montego Bay, have both condemned the spike in murders in the parish, which last Friday stood at 248.
Speaking at the official opening of a new community resource centre in Cambridge, which was constructed through the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Community Empowerment and Transformation Project Phase 2, Kellier and Davis said that residents must play their part in putting a check on the skyrocketing crime rate, particularly in the Cambridge community which frequently appears on the police radar.
"The police will tell you that the statistics of crime in the area is horrible, that it is way out of control. Just two days ago, three people were shot right across the road from the Cambridge Police Station.Two died and one was hospitalised," Kellier recounted while addressing the ceremony.
"Close to 250 people have died by murder in St James. So the newspaper says. That is just horrendous. That is what used to happen in the entire island some time ago, and at that time we were bawling when 250 murders were taking place in the entire island. Now, in little St James, and in the friendly city (Montego Bay), this is what we have come to," Kellier lamented.
"I want the citizens to access this centre and to make sure they participate in whatever is happening here, so that we can try and build back the fabric of this community and make Cambridge great again."
In his address, Davis, who is also councillor for the Cambridge division, said: "We have to understand the background on which this community centre was placed at this location. It is because of the incidents of murder and crime being committed in the Cambridge police area. You the citizens have a responsibility, and if the responsibility is to be quiet, then we will continue to remain quiet until something happens to us. We must take charge of our community. It is ours."
David added that "this centre is a very timely one. I believe this community resource centre will provide you with the best place to strengthen your resolve and to grow your community. We must realise that there is no true development unless the people are positively impacted. You have to play a critical role in your own development, and today's event provides us with the perfect example of the advantages that can result from cooperation and effective communication."
The community resource centre, which was constructed across from the Cambridge Police Station at a cost of J$15 million, is the first of its kind in St James and a similar facility is to be completed in Bogue.
It is outfitted with water catchment facilities, solar panels, environmentally safe water disposal, and disaster risk reduction equipment. It will be managed by the Cambridge Benevolent Society.