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'Too much blood being shed over land'

Published:Saturday | October 31, 2015 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams is bemoaning the fact that several Jamaicans are murdered each year because of disputes over land.

The commissioner, who was speaking at the Land Surveyors Association's annual dinner and awards ceremony on Friday, said "far too many brothers, too many spouses, far too many neighbours have lost their lives over land".

"There is simply too much blood being shed over land that we came and saw, and land that we will leave behind," Williams said.

The country's top cop made reference to a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) who was killed in Crossroads, St Andrew, recently, and said that land issues, among other domestic disputes, continue to be contributors to the country's spiralling murders.

"Just two weeks ago, the JCF mourned the death of a police officer who was shot and killed by a gunman in Crossroads. As more and more details emerged, it was revealed that the police officer was involved in a domestic dispute which had been going on for a long time," the commissioner said.




"At the centre of the dispute was a property in which the officer had been paying taxes for a long time, and somehow, another family member felt they had a claim to the property and sought to resolve the ensuing dispute, [using] a method that has become all too familiar to Jamaica - murdering the police officer," he said.

While the commissioner did not identify the murdered cop, information from the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Corporate communications Unit indicate that the policeman murdered in the Crossroad area recently was district constable Ashley Howard. He was killed on October 13.

Meanwhile, Williams argued that spatial planning is critical in the fight against crime.

"As land surveyors, you, too, have a part to play in fighting crime. Improper planning of communities have proved to be a factor in security concerns in many areas. Whether it's the zinc fences, footpaths, nameless streets, they provide numerous opportunities for criminals and gangs to operate, and at the same time, for these communities to be policed," he said.

"Even some houses and apartments that were supposed to be properly planned - the narrow walkways, the absence of proper lighting, ad hoc extensions and additions to houses and apartments, the absence of sporting facilities, the presence of overgrown lots, all of these combined have resulted in some communities being a major nightmare for the police," Williams said.