Regional

St James police commander vows to reduce crime in the parish

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — As the police continue to grapple with the escalating violence and murders in St James, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Marlon Nesbeth, the commanding officer of the police division, says his charges remain undaunted.

Up to earlier this week, the murder tally in St James since the start of the year stood at 147 —15 more than the 132 recorded over the corresponding period last year.

“We will not relent; we will remain steadfast. Most of our police officers are motivated to work hard around the issues to bring back some level of calm to St James. So it's an ongoing process, SSP Nesbeth declared.

In fact, he told the Jamaica Observer West that the hard work put in by officers under his command, in partnership with members of the Jamaica Defence Force, has begun to bear fruit.

This, he said, has led to the recovery of 43 illegal firearms, including Kalashnikov rifles, over the last three months.

“I must tell you that just for the recently ended quarter we have recovered 43 weapons, some of them AK-47 rifles, and that is the type of arsenal that these criminals have. And we are gearing to get the weapons out of the hands of these ruthless guys. We would have arrested some of them for murder, double murder…” SSP Nesbeth told the Observer West.

“We partner well with the military. If you notice, we are deployed all over the hotspot zones and we are reaping success in recent times.”

Meanwhile, as the police continue their drive to recover illegal firearms, two illegal guns were recovered last week and two men shot dead during alleged gunfights with law enforcers in two separate incidents.

The commanding officer for St James, in pointing to the recent successes of the lawmen, also noted the arrest of an alleged key figure behind the recent flare-up of violence in Salt Spring which led to a number of killings.

“...one who comes readily to mind is Damion Samuels, alias 'Damage,' who, he and his friends, would have been creating a lot of damage in the Salt Spring area. There are other entities within that group; it's a breakaway faction, two factions of a particular gang that exists there. And we are steadfast to police around the others, as we term them high-violence producers, and we want to let them understand that if they continue to wreak havoc, we are coming hard at them. So it's best for them to take heed,” SSP Nesbeth warned.

In the meantime, he has welcomed the 34 new district constables who were deployed to the parish last week.

“It's a very good initiative; we are in full support of it, we will be managing very well to make sure it meets its objective, in partnership, of course, with tourism stakeholders,” said SSP Nesbeth, referring to the Ministry of Tourism District Constable Training Programme.

A closing ceremony of the second Ministry of Tourism District Constables Training Programme was held last week at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James.

Ninety-three men and women graduated from the programme, which aims to boost safety and security in resort areas across the island.

The programme was introduced last year by the ministry through its agencies the Tourism Product Development Company and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). It has added a new layer of security in resort areas to ensure the strict enforcement of the rule of law and to help effectively tackle tourist harassment. The officers will function under a special arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and have policing powers.

Following the ceremony, three motor vehicles, a van and a number of bicycles valued at $30 million were presented to the JCF Tourism Unit by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. Additional equipment is to be acquired at a cost of $20 million. This is part of a total $200 -million allotment from TEF to the JCF which covers training, deployment, salaries, training, equipment and vehicles.

Meanwhile, Nesbeth thanked the Government for its role in assisting in crime-fighting activities.

“I must tell you again that the Government has been doing their role. we expect to get some more resources soon and even to include policy issues that need to be effected those are being worked out. some have already unfolded and we expect, as we embrace those, that we will be seeing good reward,” SSP Nesbeth said.

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