A bloody June in
Jamaica - 150 murdered in 30 days - St Mary couple killed
By Glenroy Sinclair
The slaughter continued into July, as on the
weekend the country's murder tally increased with the killing of
prominent Highgate couple Winston Chin and his wife, Ilene, who were
gunned down at their gate in the Claremont district, St. Mary, Saturday
Mr. Chin, 56, a Justice of the Peace in Annotto Bay, and his wife, 50,
drove up at their gate in a Toyota Hiace minibus when they were pounced
upon on by armed thugs. The Constabulary Communication Network (CCN)
said the gunmen opened fire, hitting Mr. Chin.
His wife ran from the vehicle and was chased and shot a short distance
away, the CCN reported. They were taken to the Annotto Bay Hospital
where they were pronounced dead.
"It is really a disturbing sign," said 'Bobby' Pottinger, the Custos of
St. Mary. He described the acts as a shock to the usually quiet
The Custos said he intends to meet with the Police High Command in the
parish to discuss strategies to strengthen community crime-fighting
initiatives. Mr. Pottinger said he will be targeting neighbourhood
watches and citizens' associations to encourage them to be more alert.
June, a month normally associated with weddings, saw over 150 persons
murdered in separate incidents across the island. The police reported
that 83 persons were murdered in June last year and between 1998 and
2004, an average of 80 persons were killed in that month.
"We have not seen any pattern or trend, nothing new has been happening
within the period to link the increase to anything," Deputy Commissioner
Lucius Thomas told The Gleaner.
He attributed most of the killings to reprisals, gang feuds and domestic
violence. While expressing concern about the high incidence of
homicides, the Deputy Commissioner said the idea came up some time ago
that a study should be done on the months of April, May and June, to
establish the reasons for the increase in homicides within this period.
WEEKLY CRIME STATISTICS
Last week, Information Minister Burchell Whiteman said that the Public
Order Committee will meet today to advance the process of dealing
specifically with the issues of crime, violence and public order.
He said that the meeting is a follow-up to the recent national broadcast
to the nation by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, in which he addressed
the crime problem and social disorder in the country.
The police weekly crime statistics point to 45 killed in the first week,
the second week another 31 persons were killed, the following week the
figure decreased to 27 and the fourth week it increased to 42.
Kingfish goes dancing looking at artistes
By Glenroy Sinclair and Tyrone Reid
Head of Operation Kingfish, Assistant Commissioner, Glenmore Hinds,
revealed that a team of detectives is examining a list of popular
entertainers, whom intelligence suggests, are involved in the illegal
importation of guns and ammunition.
While not disclosing names, ACP Hinds said he would not be surprised if
some of these entertainers were licensed firearm holders.
The Sunday Gleaner was informed that a number of prominent entertainers
are licensed firearm holders.
Hinds said a leading deejay is currently under close scrutiny.
"We are being guided by our intelligence," he said.
In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Police Commissioner, Lucius
Thomas, confirmed that some entertainers have been linked to crime. The
commissioner, who was addressing students at the Waterford Primary
School on Peace Day on March 3, stressed that while some entertainers
were of good character, a number of them were involved in gun crimes and
other criminal offences.
INVESTIGATED FOR NARCOTICS
Additionally, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) Narcotics Chief,
Assistant Commissioner Errol Strong, said entertainers were also being
investigated by narcotics detectives.
Desmond Young, president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians (JFM),
informed The Sunday Gleaner that 'word on the street' is that the
authorities are looking for scapegoats and entertainers fit the profile.
"The argument on the street that they are targeting some well known
artistes (so as) to have someone to say 'si who is causing all the
violence - a dem bwoy yah - but that is the farthest thing from the
truth," he said.
"Not to say that they are innocent or guilty, but to highlight them
could be perceived as passing the buck ... It is obvious that some
bigger players are involved," Young added.
He was adamant that none of his organisation's 2,000 members were among
those being probed.
"None of our members have been charged with anything. There are people
who are in the industry but they are not members of the JFM, so we can't
speak for those people," he said.
Nevertheless, Young hinted that dissuading entertainers from having a
microphone in one hand and illegal activities in the other is not a part
of his organisation's mandate.
"The JFM deals with musicians, not criminals. We deal with persons in
their professional capacity," he argued.
Still, he is calling on the relevant authorities to handle the
investigations professionally as it may taint the music industry's
"These matters need to be handled quietly ... It can stigmatise the
whole industry and people must be careful how it is put to the public,"
published: Thursday |
March 31, 2005
Superintendent Newton Amos inspects a Smith and Wesson gun seized during
a shoot-out in the Majesty Gardens area of St. Andrew earlier this
month. One man was shot dead by the police during the shoot-out. -
Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer
Jamaica's homicide count stood at a frightening 411 at the end of March
according to police crime statistics. Three of the country's bloodiest
divisions St. Andrew South, St. Catherine North, and St. James have
contributed to just under half of the number of persons murdered since
January. These are the prime areas which Police Commissioner Lucius
Thomas said he would be targeting. Recently, he said that he would be
increasing the relevant resources in these divisions, in order to reduce
the murder rate.
Superintendent Kenneth Wade
Thomas has increased the human resources in the violence-prone St.
Catherine North division, the commanding officer, Superin-tendent
Kenneth Wade, said soldiers were not deployed to this division.
"The soldiers are
not here as yet, but we have been using an intervention process to
defuse feuds between rival factions," he said.
Elaborating on the
point, the officer explained that the intervention of the Peace
Management Unit (PMI) dialogue with the leadership of the communities
and assistance of local support groups, are the tools he has been using
to reduce tension between the communities.
said the police have been silently working with both governmental and
non-governmental organisations to take on various roles in the
communities. These could help tackle problems, such as the high
illiteracy rate, the deep rooted social problems and political
SOUTH ST. ANDREW
doing a good job
Superintendent Newton Amos Superintendent Amos said his divisional
intelligence unit is doing a fantastic job.
"THIS IS a unit that
helped us to recovered 27 of the 105 guns we seized last year. I depend
on this unit to deploy my resources on a daily basis," said Supt. Amos,
who added that there were at least 90 arrests in connection with the
The unit, which is
one of those spearheading the Jamaica Con-stabulary Force's
modernisation process, has helped the St. Andrew South police to target
specific individuals, rather than carrying out mass round-ups of
Superintendent Amos' main concerns is the poor success in the courts.
This he blamed on
the unwillingness of witnesses to testify in court, faulty preparation
of case files and the absence of police personnel from court, which
sometimes resulted in the release of the accused persons.
actions are being taken against some of these policemen," said Supt.
Amos. "Some of the charges are criminal ones and others are internal."
Among the obstacles
faced by the lawmen in St. Andrew South is a shortage of safety
Senior Superintendent K.K. Knight
SUPERINTENDENT K.K. Knight of the St. James Division when contacted on
Tuesday declined to comment on the crime situation in his division,
asking to be interviewed at a later date.
The tourism and
other business interests in the parish have expressed serious concern
about the galloping crime problem in the resort. Last year, a group of
business interests committed to provide resources, such as vehicles and
petrol to assist the police in the fight against crime and violence in
The spectre of
published: Saturday |
April 2, 2005
The deep longing
that many in the country harbour, to see the monster of crime tamed, was
given somewhat dramatic effect on Thursday during the ceremonial opening
Howard Cooke, and the nation, heard some muffled applause from the
Gordon House benches when he declared that there would be no surrender
to the criminal elements; and he went on to cite stiffer penalties
against gun smuggling, along with enhancement of port security.
The Throne Speech
which marks the formal start of a new parliamentary year is by tradition
crafted by the government administration and delivered by the
Governor-General. The formality of the ceremonial opening is usually
graced by the upbeat tone of what the Government projects as new policy
to build on positive achievement; but to be credible the negatives have
to be acknowledged as well.
Thus, Sir Howard Cooke followed his script on the nuts and bolts of
economic and social programmes. Then he paused, and in sombre tones
conceded that while the initial results of the war on crime were "very
encouraging in some respects, sadly the murder rate is rising..."
Indeed it is. Police statistics show that at the end of March, the toll
stood at 411 in the first three months of the year, against a background
of more than 1,400 last year. Some observers compare Jamaica's killing
fields to the daily carnage in Iraq. As one letter writer to the Editor
last week cited statistics from Colombia and South Africa to make the
claim that, pro rata, Jamaica leads the world in this respect. Herein
lies our dilemma. We are doing infinitely worse than countries which
have either open or underground guerrilla warfare.
In the speech, Sir
Howard referred to another of the worrying aspects of fighting crime in
Jamaica the behaviour of the police themselves. A projected National
Independent Investigation Authority is slated to be the answer to the
persistent contention that the police can't really investigate the
rogues among them who shame their uniforms in ways that corrupt
crime-fighting. The Government should move swiftly to get this one up
We note that there
was no clear statement in the Throne Speech of the moral intangibles
that the Church has been asked to inject into the war against crime. It
may well be that the emphases on early education at home and in school
should be understood in that light; alongside the social outreaches to
repair the ramshackle of the inner cities which have spawned a lost
generation of young criminals.
The spectre of
'murder most foul' has never before given pause to the formal recital of
a government's programme for a new fiscal year. That grim shadow must be
eradicated or all the other grand plans will fail.