Sat | Oct 16, 2021

‘We are living in hell’

Police urge residents to share info as Granville sees 15th murder in three months

Published:Tuesday | August 17, 2021 | 12:07 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

As the rampant bloodletting in Granville, St James, continues to further rattle fearful residents, the community saw yet another murder on Saturday – the 15th in the past three months, leading the police to renew a call for greater cooperation from the residents to blunt the lawlessness.

“The people know the persons who are doing the killings, but they are not telling the police … . They are seeking their own justice through reprisal killings,” a police source told The Gleaner on Sunday. “We have regular patrols and all that, and we have arrested and charged a number of persons, but there are still many killers out there preying on the community.”

Following back-to-back murders last Thursday and Friday, Granville was rocked again on Saturday when a man identified as Romain Scott was cut down in a hail of bullets along Gunn’s Drive, one of the violence-plagued sections of the community.

Like in many of the killings, Scott was reportedly walking along the roadway when a car pulled up alongside him and men alighted with guns and opened fire, killing him on the spot.

The spate of killings is believed to be linked to cash-rich lottery scammers, who are battling for turf and influence.

“Informer” danger

When The Gleaner questioned the residents about their silence in not giving crucial tips to the police on the gangsters and killers, a female resident said that residents have to choose between minding their own business and hopefully live, or being labelled a police informer, which would mean certain death.

“If the wrong person sees you talking to the police or hear that you talk to the police, you are dead, because they are going to come for you,” the woman said. “My son says what is happening is called ‘rich badness’, because the bad men have money, guns and cars, and they can strike whenever they want … . We are living in hell and are just hoping and praying that we don’t get in their way.”

Reduced police presence

The woman said things have taken a turn for the worse since the community police station was destroyed by fire earlier this year, lessening the police presence in the area.

“We see the police patrolling from time to time, but in this age of cell phone, everybody knows when they are in the area, so who know, they must hide, just go hide,” she explained.

Over recent months, Councillor Michael Troupe, who represents Granville in the St James Municipal Corporation, has been pleading with St Jwames West Central Member of Parliament and Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte and National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang for enhanced security measures in the community.

“What is happening requires more than regular policing. We need a zone of special operations … . What is happening is all-out war ... . They are killing even women and babies,” Troupe told The Gleaner recently.

However, the police source believes that what is really needed is for the residents to give up the gangsters and rid the community of their influence.

“Some of them [are] benefiting from the gangsters, especially the ones with the scamming money, so they don’t want to give them up … ,” the lawman said. “We have 102 murders in St James and the majority is shared between Norwood, Glendevon and Granville. It is not a policing problem; it is a problem with the people who know what is happening and not telling the police.”

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com