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#StJamesSOE: Early success from state of emergency — JDF

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Colonel General Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Colonel Daniel Pryce says there are encouraging results from the public state of Emergency in St James, which was declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Thursday.

At a media briefing this morning at Burke Barracks in Montego Bay, Colonel Pryce said within the first 24 hours of operations one Kalashnikov rifle and six live rounds were seized in Flanker. The high-powered weapon, he said, is suspected to have been used in a recent killing in the parish and will undergo ballistic and forensic testing to determine its history.

He further informed that eight members of the Sparta gang, who were wanted for murder and other gun-related crimes, were arrested in Flanker.

He added that yesterday 15 people were arrested in connection with the illegal purchase and sale of petrol in Freeport.

“Over 5,000 litres of diesel and petrol, which were being sold from five illegal, makeshift, petrol distribution points, were also seized in that operation,” he said.

Colonel Pryce said the JDF will continue with targeted operations, vehicle checks, cordon and searches, patrols and snap raids to put pressure on the gangs and restore peace to St James.

He called for community support in providing intelligence, noting that the JDF will be putting out bulletins and social media products about the gang members, criminals, lotto scammers and other wanted men “so that they can no longer feel that St James is a safe haven.”

“Our operations are only as good as the intelligence that drives them. We urge persons to use the JDF tip hotline, 837-8888 to call and tell us what you know about criminal activities in your communities,” he said.

He noted that the hotline is manned by soldiers on a 24-hour basis and offers convenience and more importantly, confidentiality.

Pryce said that while he is mindful that law-abiding citizens of St James may have concerns about the high concentration of soldiers and police in the parish, members of the security forces are trained to be professional in executing their duties and will give due regards to human rights and the dignity of all people.

He urged citizens to get acquainted with the regulations and requirements governing the State of Emergency in order for them “to easily and conveniently transit the area as they go about their lawful business.”

He reiterated specific guidelines for closing hours for all businesses in St James, which he said must be observed as violators will be prosecuted.

Under the State of Public Emergency, all clubs and fast food outlets must be closed by midnight; all service stations by 10:00 pm; bars and taverns are to be closed by 9:00 pm; cook shops and haberdasheries by 7:00 pm; and hangouts and corner shops by 6:00 pm.

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