Current Affairs

Current Affairs





KINGSTON, Jan. mn3 (JIS):

National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips has announced that a police command post would be set up in the Red Hills Road area, to stem the recent spate of killings in the Park Lane and 100 Lane communities.

"The security forces are very active in the area and they intend to re-establish a command post in that general
vicinity and other measures to bring some level of calm to those affected communities," he said. He noted that
support would also come from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

With just three days into the New Year, 11 persons have been killed, eight in the two volatile communities. Seven
persons including three women and two primary school girls were killed in an early Wednesday (Jan. 3) morning
attack on the 100 Lane community. One man was killed on Tuesday night in Park Lane.

Dr. Phillips said that while no motive has yet been established for the killings, there were speculations that the
killing on New Year's night could be linked to an ongoing dispute between communities in that section of Red Hills

"It would seem that what occurred this morning with the slaying of the seven persons is the result of a reprisal
effort," he stated.

The Minister said he was not ruling out a drug connection to the killings as the drug trade provided the resources to finance the purchase and distribution of high-powered weapons and to sustain criminal gangs.

"There is also the question of whether there are people who, for political or other motives, would want to
stimulate communities to fight against each other," he stated.

Declaring that the Government would be putting in place "sustained policy measures" to overcome the problem of
crime and violence, Dr. Phillips revealed that there were plans to increase the island's security personnel. "I
have asked the JDF and Jamaica Constabulary Force to set up recruitment activities to fill vacancies that exist in
both organisations," he said.

At the same time, improvements to border control activities are being contemplated to stem the flow of guns and
drugs into and out of the country. "We are getting some assistance from international partners in this regard and
we are seeking additional assistance from them," he stated.

"We are going to have to look at how we exercise greater control over persons seeking access to port areas and
sensitive security areas of airports and sea ports; upgrade general data collection abilities and enhance
technical ability of police to apprehend people," Dr. Phillips added.

He mentioned that there was also a major drive to reorient and reorganise the security force toward community
policing and to strengthen the police's response to armed situations. He also warned that acts of corruption and
indiscipline would be weeded out of the force.

The Minister called on the nation to join the crime fighting effort and isolate criminals. "There is a need to
ensure that no one gives the criminal any safe haven, any support, and that no one provides them with any defence
or justification for the kind of criminal activity that they have embarked upon.

"There can be no justification for terrorising defenceless women and children. We must all recognise that whatever
political persuasion we may have, whatever affiliation of church or social organisation, the criminal represents a
threat to all decent people in Jamaica and no one should provide them with any protection whatever.

"If we mean this country well, we will lend our energies to uniting against this criminal threat and not dividing
the people of Jamaica at this time," he stated.