Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Security forces insist on IDs for residents in Denham Town ZOSO

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 6:16 PM
Security personnel search a man in Denham Town, west Kingston after Prime Minister Holness declared it Jamaica's second zone of special operations. – Lionel Rookwood/Photoghrapher

Residents of Denham Town, including children, were on Tuesday sent digging into their purses and wallets for identification as the second Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) took effect in sections of the West Kingston community.  

Several streets were transformed into heavily guarded checkpoints as soldiers demanded the names and dates of birth of people entering and leaving the community.

Motorists were required to produce their vehicle registration details.

Juice vendor, Kenneth Anderson, noted that all Jamaicans are feeling the effects of crime and he did not mind being frisked by soldiers at a checkpoint on Regent Street.

But hairdresser Karen Shakespeare was not as welcoming, saying she lost two clients who were barred from crossing a checkpoint on Charles Street because they had no identification.

Meanwhile, residents from outside the community who turned out to collect money offered through the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) at the Denham Town Post Office on Albert Street had to wait longer than usual as soldiers processed them one by one at a nearby checkpoint.

This morning, Police Commissioner George Quallo, said prolonged gang warfare which has resulted in several murders and shootings was part of the reason the security forces are in Denham Town.

Commissioner Quallo said there are 12 known gangs operating in the community.

He said since 2015, there has been increased conflict between gangs in Denham Town and Tivoli Gardens following the extradition of crime lord Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

 

Police Commissioner, George Quallo

The police commissioner said in recent years there has been no fewer than 12 murders over a 12-month period in Denham Town.

However, since the start of this year, there have been 17 murders.

 

Police Commissioner, George Quallo

Civil Military Cooperation and Media Affairs Officer Major Basil Jarrett, said the declaration of Denham Town as a ZOSO followed a curfew that had been imposed in the area from early yesterday morning.

Jarrett explained that special care was made not to include two major hospitals and certain schools in the zone of special operations in order to facilitate their smooth operation.

Outside of those provisions, everyone crossing checkpoints had to be searched.