Destination: Montego Bay

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The seized guns

Barrington Flemming
Staff Reporter

Cops intercept massive gun cache heading to city

  • State of Emergency needed – Sinclair

St. James may have been spared a much more violent brand of the bloody massacre slowly seeping across the parish, when news surfaced that 119 guns, destined for an already anarchic Montego Bay, were seized by US law enforcement. And while law-abiding citizens breathed a collective sigh of relief, many can’t escape the questions: what would have happened if those guns had made it through? Is there a violent war brewing in the criminal underbelly of the parish, destined to slaughter more innocent citizens? Is this time for drastic action?

Charles Sinclair, former Mayor of Montego Bay in speaking to the Western Mirror, proposed a simple, yet drastic call of action to the government and the Jamaica Constabulary Force – take the fight to violence producers to get the murder rate under control.

“It is frightening,” Sinclair said in response to the seizure of the shipment of 119 guns and ammunition, “if those guns got into the country, we would be seeing a murder rate that would be going through the roof.  It is also frightening because it would be coming through our regular port of entry.”

The investigation, which is now underway, should identify who was the mastermind overseas and to whom the guns and ammunition were being shipped, as this was not the first shipment and it speaks volumes about our ports of entry.”

The guns were seized by agents in the state of Florida, upon their physical inspection of two blue barrels holding several items – a discovery the former Mayor found most pleasing. Despite this, Sinclair feels there is still a lot to be done in the fight against crime, turning his focus to our ports of entry.

“The authorities at the ports of entry need to increase their vigilance, monitoring and surveillance capacity more effectively, especially with those goods that that come in large quantities, meaning –  motor vehicles, refrigerators, stoves etc., as weapons could be hidden in them. We need to bolster the examination process to ensure they (our port authorities) remain on top of what is happening,” Sinclair said.

Charles Sinclair

STATE OF EMERGENCY NEEDED

Last year, Senator Sinclair was one of the leading voices from the West in the calls for a full-fledged State of Emergency, and this year, 2017, following the many unwarranted acts of violence and killings sweeping the parish, remains adamant that such a tactic needs to be implemented in the parish.

“Since my call for a limited State of Emergency in May 2016 was rebuffed by many in the private sector and some in media, I have seen hundreds of residents, to include women and children in several communities, brutally murdered. This cannot be allowed to continue. In fact, with the murder rate in St. James racing past the 300 mark, or 150 per 100,000, the situation in the parish now requires immediate action that only a full-fledged State of Emergency can bring,” argued Senator Sinclair.

Senator Sinclair is also raising concern about the JCF’s deployment last week of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Clifford Blake, to Montego Bay to bolster its administrative arm in the region.

“It is my hope that the DCP has brought with him the additional human and physical resources to make a significant dent in the mayhem taking place, otherwise, it will be just another movement of another commanding officer to St James.”

He also added that it was imperative that action be taken immediately to improve the monitoring and security procedures at the island’s ports of entry, as the gun seizure in the United States was indicative that the system was not as secure as it should be.

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