Stop it!

Cop admonishes August Town residents for misleading police

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porter@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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INSPECTOR Keith Steele is admonishing residents of August Town, who he says have been hindering efforts by the police to effectively fight crime and violence in the St Andrew community.

Steele, who is the sub-officer in charge of the August Town Police Station, told the Jamaica Observer on Friday that some of the residents have been providing the police with misleading information in order to protect their relatives who are involved in the spate of shootings and murders in the community.

The cop did not mince his words, adding that the residents know where the truth lies.

“Nobody is willing to stop the tit for tat. Some are disingenuous in giving information. The information they are giving is not true,” the police inspector said.

Pointing out that the crime and violence now plaguing the area are acts of reprisal, Steele recalled the killing of Zaunal Duncan a week and a half after he returned to the community where his brother, Herbert Duncan, was brutally murdered eight years ago. Zaunal, Steele said, was shot dead.

“The one (murder of Javaughn Ferguson) on July 10 is a reprisal for a murder that was committed on the 18th of April this year, along Gordon Town Road, of Eardo Hilary, 22, and they waited one month after he was buried, to the date, to carry out that reprisal. And three days after they killed a man (Gary McGregor) in Hermitage and blamed it on the persons from Jungle 12, that is dem do it, and they know from heaven to Earth that it wasn't like that; this community that we are in is a very dangerous one,” the sub-officer said.

Last week, some of the business operators in August Town complained that their businesses were being affected by what was described as an apparent curfew that had been imposed in the area.

However, Steele dismissed those claims.

“We never had a curfew; we had a soft lockdown as a result of the murders, crime and violence that is affecting the community,” Steele explained.

“This community is a 100 per cent family community. Everybody related by some ways or means. Some of the people who complained about lockdown, their families are involved [in wrongdoing]and this makes the job of the police very difficult to solve the crime and problems in this community.

“All murders this year happened on the main thoroughfare. People a gwaan like police a do them nuh wrong when you tell them come off the road, so you can see who committing the crimes,” he reasoned.

The latest victim to be killed in the community is 17-year-old Javaughn, otherwise called Alkaline, who was shot dead during a drive-by in Jungle 12, on July 10, 2018.

Another man was also shot and injured in the incident.

According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Corporate Communications Unit, Javaughn was standing with a group of people at a corner shop in the community about 8:50 pm when the group was shot at by men travelling in a motor car.

When the gunfire subsided, Javaughn and a man had been shot. They were taken to hospital where Javaughn was pronounced dead and the man admitted in stable condition.

Last month, Steele theorised Javaughn's murder as a reprisal.

Steele explained that since the start of the year, 13 people have been killed in August Town.

He further explained that over the last 19 months, 25 people were murdered compared to 30 people between January 2011 and December 31, 2016.

In 2016, the community was lauded for not contributing to the 1,350 people murdered across the island.

In 2011, the community recorded four murders, 11 in 2012, six in 2013, five in 2014, four in 2015, none in 2016, 13 in 2017, and 12 so far this year.

Steele, who is convinced that lightning can't strike twice, said the residents have to change their modus operandi.

“The people in the community will definitely have to change their culture and be true, real, loyal, and honest with themselves for this (crime-free community) to become a reality. They also need to learn how to resolve their domestic issues without violent confrontation,” he said.

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