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Vaz, PAJ mourn with deFreitas

Published:Monday | April 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Minister with responsibility for information, Daryl Vaz, has expressed shock at the fatal shooting of Mark deFreitas, son of Paget deFreitas, The Gleaner's overseas publications editor.

In a statement yesterday, Vaz expressed his condolences to the deFreitas family and urged them to be strong even as they face this deep personal loss.

"My thoughts and prayers are with you," Vaz said. "We need most urgently to unite to stamp out the monster of violent crime in our society."

On Friday, the younger deFreitas was reportedly standing beside his Honda Civic motor car on Montgomery Drive, Kingston 10, speaking with a woman when two men rode up on a motorbike and opened fire.

deFreitas died on the spot after being hit multiple times. The woman escaped unhurt.

Yesterday, the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) also extended its deepest sympathy to the deFreitas family.

"The media fraternity shares the deFreitas family's grief as well as that of the hundreds of families of the more than 500 countrymen killed in 114 days since the start of the year," The PAJ said in a release.

Other victims

Among Jamaicans killed since the start of the year is Observer West columnist Buckston Harrison, who was murdered on March 22 in Westmoreland. Also affected by rampant crime has been Gleaner contributor Dr Heather Little-White, who was recently robbed - 11 years after she was shot by gunmen and paralysed.

"It is time the society start pushing back against the rising tide of criminality that is engulfing us," said PAJ President Byron Buckley. "We are the accomplices of criminals when we do not tell what we know."

Buckley noted that the police cannot effectively combat crime without intelligence and urged Police Commissioner Owen Ellington to take steps to enable the Jamaica Constabulary Force to gain the confidence of the public.