'The programme now is to take back the area from the criminals.' - McKenzie
Non-governmental organisations, social institutions, the church, and the business community are being urged to join the police to break the back of criminality in West Kingston. This call comes as a group of violent and brutal young men have unleashed a reign of terror in an attempt to control the area.
According to Member of Parliament for western Kingston Desmond McKenzie, most residents of the constituency support the rule of law and are not interested in the donmanship.
"The people want the police, there are no two ways about it," McKenzie told The Sunday Gleaner as he lamented the action of a small group of criminals behind the bloodletting.
According to McKenzie, the criminal elements are operating in the constituency the way criminals operate elsewhere and have not derailed the work that is ongoing.
"The social programmes are still going on, the schools are still operating, but the fact is that there is some level of fear because of the guns."
The veteran politician, who has lived or worked in western Kingston for all of his life, said while the political organisation continues its work in the constituency a number of private sector initiatives are also taking place.
These include the renovation of the golden age home; the installing of 100 computers in various centres across the constituency; a programme initiated to assist students sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test and assistance with the funding of secondary and tertiary education.
Last year, McKenzie was listed as one of the MPs who spent a substantial portion of their Constituency Development Fund allocation on education.
"We are doing a series of things to get the message out," said McKenzie "I met with the churches early in the week and placed my position on the table ... we are looking at a programme to take the churches to various sections of the community in an outreach initiative," said McKenzie, who served for years as the councillor for the Tivoli Gardens division in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Council.
He added that he is also meeting with principals of schools in the constituency as the violence is affecting the attendance of some students.
McKenzie said he met with senior police personnel last Monday, before meeting with other stakeholders in the area.
"The programme now is to take back the area from the criminals ... and so we had meetings with the church and police throughout the course of the week."
He suggested that while the job of the police in the constituency is very difficult, they sometimes make it more difficult for themselves.
"You can't look at a big woman or a big man and call them gyal or boy and tell them to guh whey ... The police most understand the delicacy of the situation, at time I believe too much excessive force is used and the level of disrespect that is shown to the residents is played out on many occasions."
McKenzie said after the May 2010 security forces operation to capture the then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke the police were on top of their game, but they started to relax after a short while.
However, he conceded that a lot of pressure was brought to bear on the police in the area after the 2010 operation because residents felt that their civil liberties were being threatened.