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Bull Bay bleeding – MP wants more security and social intervention

Published:Saturday | January 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Muriel Ranger holds a picture of her nephew, Chiyano ‘Dwayne’ Lewis, one of the recent victims of the gang violence in Bull Bay, St Andrew.

Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Rural Juliet Holness is calling for an increased presence of the security forces in Bull Bay community, where an upsurge in gang

violence has left several persons dead and residents living in fear in recent months.

Hours after reports of another fatal shooting in the community yesterday, Holness told The Sunday Gleaner that while the area, with its hilly terrain, is difficult to police, more foot and vehicular patrols could help to put a lid on the violence.

"It started with gangs from Nine Miles, 10 Miles and 11 Miles, which is not part of my constituency, and it has continued with reprisals and counter-reprisals," said Holness.

She said she has had intense discussions with the head of the East Kingston Police Division and the leadership of the Bull Bay police in an effort to ensure the safety of the residents.

"One of the major challenges is that nobody will talk about what is happening. They will not talk to the police and they will not even talk to me," added Holness.

The first-term MP said she has already held discussions with Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang about the residents' call for increased security presence.

"The community needs it. The residents would feel more comfortable. I don't know if that is the solution but I would agree that increased police could work. It has worked in St James and I believe it could work for us," said Holness.

She added that social intervention is also needed in the community as a long-term solution to the crime which has plagued that area at different periods for decades.

"I have started some work that is being done at the Windsor Lodge Community Centre with HEART Trust/ NTA and we need more

programs for the young

people. Whatever we can do in terms of making them gainfully employed can make a

difference," said Holness.