Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for St. Catherine North West, Newton Amos, has decried the murders taking place in the Linstead area of the constituency, adding that more intelligence gathering and police resources are needed to stem the bloodletting.
He indicated that the general area of Trinity in Linstead, for example, is tense after three of its residents were killed in separate incidents in less than a month. Some residents have since left the community, Amos told The Beacon.
“A lot of people have moved out from the area,” he said. “Trinity acting up destabilizes every aspect of business in Linstead. They are almost situated smack in the middle of the town.”
The latest round of violence started there on December 18 when gunmen murdered Nicola Brown, otherwise called Nicky, outside her business-place in the community. One of her close relatives, currently in police custody, had been implicated in an incident in another section of Linstead called Banbury. Since Brown was killed, at least one of her close relatives has left the community out of fear of being cut down too.
In another murder, which took place at Fourth Street in the Trinity area on January 6, gunmen shot and killed 27-year-old Denton Hamilton, better known as “One Left”. He was gunned down at a beauty salon in his community a day after being released from police custody. Police said they had arrested and charged him with aggravated robbery.
And on January 12, fear intensified when gunmen murdered another Trinity resident, 27-year-old Oshane Harper, better known as Lance. He was cut down in another part of Linstead known as Burton.
The police have not openly said if the killings are linked or what may have caused them.
They also recently found a relatively large number of stolen technological devices in Trinity. Crime Officer for St. Catherine North Division, Deputy Superintendent Balvie Thomas, told The Beacon that two persons have been arrested and charged in relation to the find, adding that most of the items have since been handed over to their rightful owners.
In the meantime, Amos, who also is a retired Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, said he has sought counselling for relatives of the murder victims.
“I am concerned because of the number of persons that have been shot and killed in the Linstead area over the past weeks. All these people being killed are young folks – male and female. I am not convinced that the approach to treat with these incidents are showing the kind of effect that will cauterize the state of bloodletting that is taking place,” he added. “I have to be visiting [bereaved relatives of] these persons; I have to be calling persons and institutions that are able to assist the family members with counselling.”
However, Amos is of the view that greater intervention is needed from the police force.
“I am calling on the Commissioner of Police to pay particular attention [and] send additional resources to Linstead Police Station. The OSTs (Operational Support Teams) must be extended to Linstead and its environs with increased presence. And the Divisional Intelligence Unit must be reactivated at the stations to treat with the intelligence that they are going to need to lead their operations because we don’t want to have innocent people implicated in all that is taking place,” Amos said.
He continued: “Once you start to have these sorts of incidents in Trinity or in any other community, the police and the army will have to pay attention in them, and it means that ordinary citizens who just move about their own space are going to be restricted just because of a few… I know that the police have the capacity to treat with this matter; I know it… What we need is for the police to move in and take charge of the situation [and] prevent a continuation of this which seems to be the order of the day.”
Amos further said he has raised the issue regarding Linstead’s crime problem with the Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang. “He promised that he would look into the matter. Since then, we have had three additional murders [in Linstead],” Amos added.
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