NEWS IN BRIEF
Gunmen posing as police kill three people, including brothers
ST ANDREW - Gunmen, posing as police officers, shot and killed three people, including two brothers, on Chisholm Avenue in St Andrew yesterday, the police have reported.
The victims are 28-year-old mason Alex Orlando Ricketts; 31-year-old Nava ‘Fatta’ Ricketts, also a mason; and Ricardo Dwight Henry, otherwise called ‘Rasta’, a 48-year-old delivery man. Henry is reported to be a cousin to the brothers.
The deceased are all from the same address on Chisholm Avenue in Kingston 13.
According to police reports, at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Saturday, at least three gunmen with rifles and posing as police officers entered the premises and took the three men from their home.
They were led at gunpoint to another dwelling on the premises, where they opened gunfire, hitting all three men in the upper body and killing them on the spot.
The gunmen then made their escape on foot in the area.
Jamaica recorded 1,498 murders last year and, so far this year, the authorities have registered more than 1,008 killings.
Jahshii’s brother shot and killed in Grants Pen
ST ANDREW - David Clarke, who is said to be the brother of dancehall entertainer Mluleki Clarke, popularly known as Jahshii, was shot and killed by gunmen in Grants Pen, St Andrew yesterday morning. Another man was shot and injured in the incident.
According to police reports, the incident happened at approximately 2 a.m.
The police say Clarke, a 29-year-old labourer, and another man were at a yard in Grants Pen when armed men approached and opened fire. Clarke was shot and killed, while the other man was injured.
Jahshii’s family has been embroiled in controversy since June when the deejay’s name surfaced in an investigation regarding the death of businessman Omar ‘Romie’ Wright.
The entertainer was questioned and released by the cops about the June 7 murder, in the presence of his attorneys, King’s Counsel Peter Champagnie and Richard Lynch.
In July, a motor vehicle which Jahshii owned was attacked by armed men on Constant Spring Road on his way from his birthday party. Six men, all members of the entertainer’s entourage, were shot and injured. The deejay reportedly left the event in another car and escaped injury.
Eight-year-old found dead in Portland home
PORTLAND - Police are probing the circumstances surrounding the death of eight-year-old Venice Burke at her home on West Baptist Avenue in Portland on Friday.
According to the police, Venice, a student of a Comfort Castle institution, was at home with her stepfather, after leaving school, when the incident occurred.
It is understood that the stepfather stated that he was in the front of the yard along with another man making a bed head when he saw Venice outside without shoes with a plastic bag in her hand. According to the stepfather, he sent the girl back inside the house to put on her shoes.
It was reported that, when he did not hear from Venice, he went to check and saw the girl lying on the floor unresponsive with the plastic bag over her face and in a pool of urine. He reportedly made checks inside the house but he did not see anyone.
He took the child to the Port Antonio Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The Port Antonio police are investigating.
Media workers urged to be responsible in reporting on suicides
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Guyana’s Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony told media practitioners that they have an important role in preventing suicides in Guyana, a country which has among the highest suicide rates in the world.
Anthony told a two-day training workshop that the government has taken steps to prevent the instances of suicide in the country by promoting prevention.
However, he told the audience that media professionals must be responsible when disseminating information related to suicides and mental health.
The workshop was hosted by the Guyana Press Association (GPA), in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) which is focusing on reporting responsibly in the context of mental health, suicides and trauma.
In 2019, Guyana had the second highest suicide rate in the world, at an estimate mortality rate of 40.3 deaths per 100,000 people. In addition, there are approximately 20,000 people battling several mental illnesses in Guyana.
The Suicide Prevention Act, which was passed in the National Assembly in 2022, ensures responsible reporting. This includes charging persons or an entity for revealing the names of victims who died by suicide, the method they used, and even the location where it occurred. These are important factors that must be considered when reporting suicide cases, and even mental health.
Anthony said that the media can bridge the information gap between medical professionals and the general public in the areas of mental health, suicide prevention, and even other health-related issues.
President Henry urges international support to end the crisis in Haiti
UNITED NATIONS (CMC) – President Dr Ariel Henry on Friday called for a “tangible lasting” solution to the crisis in Haiti that he says has now reached a “critical point”, as he urged the international community to answer the call for a peacekeeping force in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
“I have come here today on behalf of the people of Haiti to tell you that we are ready for that change, we have been waiting for almost two centuries. Freedom can only be complete if it enables each citizen to live in dignity and decent conditions,” Henry told the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Henry, who heads the interim government following the July 7, 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, has in the past called on the international community to send in a multinational force to maintain peace and security in the country.
”I come here today on behalf of my people to raise our security question which remains the key priority of my government. To highlight the circulation of arms, massacres, kidnappings which are major concerns for my administration,” he said.
The plea by Henry comes as the United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced Friday that Washington is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on an additional five individuals under Section 212 (a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Henry told the UNGA that the security crisis is exacerbated by the deterioration of the security situation, which has impacted institutions, hindering socio-economic growth and progress.
“It has now reached a critical point,” he said, noting that, on a daily basis, Haitians face violent attacks by armed gangs that control various areas in the capital and provisional towns.
“They assassinate, set fires, they steal and abuse with cruelty. They drive citizens from their homes. They block roads and they force schools and hospitals as well as businesses to close their doors,” he said.
“The deterioration of the security situation in recent weeks has led to a new humanitarian crisis, with displaced persons spontaneously occupying schools to escape gang violence,” he added, noting that as many as 16,500 people are occupying those schools.
Henry said a health threat is also present with cases of cholera being detected in certain areas.
“This increases the risk of transmission and is a real public health issue for the population,” Henry said, speaking also of “systematic human rights violations caused by gang violence that compromises peace, stability and the security of the country and the region as a whole”.
Henry said that the United Nations Security Council must take urgent action by authorising a multinational support mission to underpin security in Haiti, consisting of both police and military personnel, to support Haiti’s National Police Force.
“The use of force as an initial step remains essential to create an environment in which the State can function properly again. It is a necessary initial stage but it is not enough in and of itself,” he said.
“Social and economic development must also be addressed in order to find a sustainable solution to the extreme poverty, which is the origin of all of the ills facing my country. Social inequalities and the very unequal distribution of wealth in Haiti has caused a huge gap to exist between the masses and a small minority which controls 90 per cent of the country’s riches”.
Henry said the extreme poverty accentuates the unemployment situation among young people, marginalises communities, and easily tempts them into a life of crime.
“That category is fertile ground for recruitment by gangs,” he said.
“Democracy is at peril, our country needs a return to normalcy in order thereafter to be able to address the challenges it faces,” Henry told the UNGA.