Tivoli incursion had an impact
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
"I think the safe haven has been removed," Green said, referring to Tivoli Garden … . "We have to make sure it is removed and no other haven comes up."
Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green, who heads the Major Investigation Task Force (MIT), has no doubt that the May 24 incursion into Tivoli Gardens has had an impact on the level of compliance by people who have been named 'persons of interest' by the police.
More than 100 persons of interest have been asked by the police to turn themselves in since the west Kingston incursion, and most have complied.
The majority were questioned and released, but several were charged, and others were warned for prosecution.
Some persons of interest who did not turn themselves in to the police after being named ran out of hiding options.
Among them was Ricardo 'Government' Wynter, who was killed by the police on Thursday, July 22, in Hellshire, St Catherine.
Government was the reported leader of the notorious Stinger gang, which operates mainly out of Maxfield Avenue and adjoining communities in southern St Andrew.
He had been wanted for questioning in connection with several murders, including the killing of two persons on Whitfield Avenue on May 24 after they refused to block roads in support of an embattled Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
Another gangster with ties to Tivoli who was killed after the incursion was former Stone Crusher gang leader Cedric 'Doggie' Murray, described as a top Dudus lieutenant.
The man who led the St James-based gang was killed near the border of Manchester and Clarendon on Thursday, August 12.
Murray's diary, which was in his possession when he was killed, detailed his activities in Tivoli during the incursion.
"May 24 - Invasion of Tivoli Garden by babylon the enemy, gun shots rang out from every corner of West Kingston and other places of KGN to protect the man Don of all Dons. Christopher Coke, AKA Dudus," said an entry in the diary.
"I fired my AK-47 until my fingers were numb. I ate gun powder until my throat was sore. Babylon feel seh man a fool like dem and dem can jus come and kill mi. Them betta know seh gangsta fi life. All out when mi get drawn out, straight bullet fi dem," said another entry.
These words seem to echo the position of several other young men who rushed to Tivoli to "protect the President", and Green is aware that destroying that criminal enterprise is having a positive impact on the country.
For Green, the lesson from Tivoli has convinced gangsters that the police mean business.
That lesson was as physical as it is psychological, with the stunning display of power by the security forces in toppling what was once seen as a near impregnable stronghold.
"I think the safe haven has been removed," Green said, referring to Tivoli Gardens. "That definitely has been removed."
However, he made it clear that the police are not resting on their laurels. "We have to make sure it is removed and no other haven comes up," Green told The Sunday Gleaner.
Green argued that Coke's removal from Tivoli has left many other criminal gangs floundering.
"Not necessarily saying he (Coke) was in control, but he had connections not only over national borders, but international as well," Green said.
"The infrastructure is just as important as the persons," Green added, while noting that the infrastructure established by Coke "helped to move criminals, goods, assets, or firearms".
With the criminals in retreat, the country has seen a reduction in all major crimes since June, but Green is under no illusion that the battle has been won.
"We know they are trying to re-establish, that is why we are continuing our drive. The battle is very much beginning."