West remains under the gun - Region sees 20 murders in 24 days as murderous assault continues
Despite repeated promises by the police to rein in the spate of cold-blooded murders plaguing western Jamaica, the killings are seemingly continuing unabated with all four parishes in the Area One region recording murders over the past three days, bringing the tally over the past two weeks to 24.
On Thursday, residents of Cold Spring, Hanover, were shaken at the murder of 30-year-old labourer Kemoy Russell, who was shot and killed, and his female companion shot and injured.
“Our information is that Russell took his son to school and was on his way back home when he was accosted and shot,” a police investigator from the Sandy Bay Police Station told The Gleaner. “The female was shot in her face, but luckily, she survived the attack.”
In Trelawny, which was enjoying relative peace in comparison to its western neighbours, the parish was shaken by three murders in the Kinloss community in the past fortnight.
“The police are out in their numbers,” Superintendent Winston Milton, the commanding officer for Trelawny, told The Gleaner on Tuesday. “We have deployed additional manpower and we have beefed up patrols to avoid any recurrence of murders.”
However, less than 24 hours after Milton spoke to The Gleaner, residents in Pondside, Jackson Town, were left paralysed by fear as gunmen killed 47-year-old resident Trevor Thompson. Reports are that about 7 a.m., a relative went to Thompson’s house and stumbled upon his bullet-riddled body. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The most recent killings come just days after National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang promised that new crime-fighting measures are now being put in place to fight crime in the western region.
“It will take a lot of effort and work on the part of the security forces to fix this situation,” said Chang, who was touring police stations across Area One, which includes Hanover, Westmoreland, St James, and Trelawny.
“We are now providing the security forces with more mobility, and on top of that, we are looking at enhanced security measures because we have a level of violence that cannot just be controlled by normal activities,” added Chang.
Six days ago, Winston Lawson, the president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, made a public appeal to the minister of security and the leadership of the security forces to find an answer to the rampant criminality, which he said has now reached distressing levels.
Over the past two weeks, St James has recorded at least 10 murders, Trelawny 5, Westmoreland 5, and Hanover 4.
“I heard St James bawling out for another state of public emergency, but it is the entire region that is under the gun,” a businessman told The Gleaner Thursday.