St James calm

COMMANDER of the Area One police Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifford Chambers says no major crime has been recorded in St James since a state of public emergency (SOE) was declared for the parish on Wednesday, November 8.

Prime Minster Andrew Holness declared the enhanced security measure in St James following an increase in gang violence in sections of the parish, including the shooting death of two primary school boys and another man who were travelling in a taxi when they were fired upon by a gunman on Monday, November 6.

“The state of emergency, like others that we have had, has given us very, very, very good results. In the past we have had state of emergencies [during which] we have had major crimes, though reduced, but we have had major crimes committed. What we have had here now, since this state of public emergency in the parish was declared, there has not been one major crime — no murder, no shooting, no rape, no aggravated assault. No major crime has been committed since the inception of this last state of public emergency. We are now going over nine days,” ACP Chambers told reporters on Saturday.

“Its [success of SOE] is a combination of factors. The efforts and multiplying factor of the military and ourselves; the targeted operations; the arrests; the recoveries; and the latitude that legislation provides us are giving us some good results,” the Area One police commander said.

“We are not saying it is the end of it, because we know the criminals are out there and, based on our intelligence and information, tend to watch and observe and then adapt. But we will do what is necessary to maintain and contain crime levels as it is now, in which all major crimes in Area One are far less than where they were last year, and so we are hoping to keep it thay way to the end of the year and beyond,” he added.

He was responding to questions from the Jamaica Observer following the Jamaica Constabulary Force 156th National Commemorative and Memorial Service at Falmouth Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trelawny on Saturday.

During the service, tributes were paid to 46 cops who passed during the past year, five of whom died during the execution of their duties.

Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson, whose message was read by ACP Chambers, expressed gratitude for the role the 46 fallen colleagues played in the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

“This occasion is a time of reflection and thanksgiving as we honour and pay tribute to our members who died over the past year, even as we give thanks for our individual and collective milestones.

“As we celebrate these milestones today [Saturday] and in the days ahead, it is not lost on us that the 46 members being commemorated on this occasion played their part in service to country and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the process. We mourn this loss with the families of each member and will be forever grateful for their sacrifices in advancing the efforts of national security and public safety,” Anderson said.

“We must honour the members we lost by continuing and building on the path they pursued. We will remain on course with our transformation journey with the continued investment in our people, quality systems, and technology. We have seen these investments improve our service delivery standards, building greater confidence not only among our ranks, but among the Jamaican people as we serve and protect them,” he added.

ACP Chambers, who thanked the Falmouth Seventh-day Adventist Church for hosting the police, expressed his appreciation and said he was encouraged by the “strong support and turnout”.

“The message was strong as we acknowledged those who passed on and we gave the necessary reverence to their work and their contribution to nation-building. Five died in the active line of duty and for that the Government, and I am sure a nation, is grateful. All the necessary things were put in place to remember them, such as the event today [Saturday], following the necessary arrangements with their families and loved ones,” ACP Chambers said.