CRACKDOWN

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Boots on the ground

Barrington Flemming

Staff Reporter

  • Five nabbed
  • Rifle seized
  • ‘I told you so’ – Sinclair

Three teenage boys were among five suspects nabbed in a special targeted operation conducted by a joint police military team yesterday in Flanker, Montego Bay, in connection with two brazen gun attacks on Tuesday in the vicinity of the Sangster International Airport which left one man dead and three others injured, prompting the now State of Public Emergency in St. James announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

The boys, 14, 15 and 16 years old who are students of a high school in the second city, are said to be at the heart of the daring attacks which sent shockwaves throughout the tourism capital.

They are also linked to other major crimes and murders committed in Montego Bay. During the operation, an AK 47 rifle with live rounds was also seized.

Senator Charles Sinclair, who is also councillor for the Flanker Division, lauded the imposition of the State of Public Emergency, for which he has been lobbying for the past four years, hailing its initial success in his division.

“I am pleased that it is now here. What I anticipate is that this is going to bring cauterization of the murders that have been taking place.  Currently we are having mayhem and people are fearful.  There will be some inconvenience here and there but it will be worth it. So, when sanity and normality has been restored that process must be maintained by the relevant agencies,” Senator Sinclair said.

He further explained that the municipal corporation, the JCF, Public Health Department and the social agencies dealing with building human capacity such as the Social Development Commission, Peace Management Initiative and the Citizens Security Justice Programme, must collaborate to ensure that a culture of peace and safety is developed and seen as normal.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the State of Public Emergency at a press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday citing that the prevailing conditions in the parish warranted its imposition under the appropriate constitutional provisions.

EXTRAORDINARY POWERS

He said the security forces would have extraordinary powers, and while the rights of some ordinary citizens may be suspended during the period, it would not mean the abuse of the human rights of citizens.

“This does not mean that use of these extraordinary powers can be arbitrary or are beyond review. The security forces are expected and have been directed to treat citizens with respect and protect the dignity and safety of all.”

The security forces will have the power to search, curtail operating hours of business, access to places and to detain persons without a warrant.

In addition, persons using all roads leading in and out of St James will be subject to vehicle and personal search. In various areas of city and township, there will be joint static and mobile patrol. Persons may also be stopped at various checkpoints.

The effects of the State of Public Emergency were felt early in the city of Montego Bay as soldiers and police were deployed at several hot spots in the parish to include, Flanker, Norwood, Rose Heights and Cambridge.

Private motor vehicles as well as taxis and other motor vehicles were stopped and searched and a number of ‘robot’s’ (illegal taxis) seized.

Under the Public State of Emergency, bars and taverns will be required to be closed at 9p.m.; Clubs and Incorporated Fast Food establishments one minute to midnight (11:59), corners and hangout bars 6 p.m.; cook shops –7p.m and petrol stations 10 p.m.

The parish of St. James recorded 335 murders last year, twice the number committed in Clarendon which recorded 168, which was the second highest murder total by a parish last year.

 

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