Editorial

Reflecting on a 'dawg hearted' act

Friday, August 31, 2012    

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According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica's Economic and Social Survey there were 1,133 murders last year. High as that figure undoubtedly is, it reflects an actual 21.4 per cent decline from 2010.

The sad truth is that for many years now, Jamaica has been numbered among those countries with the highest murder rates.

No wonder then that down the years Jamaicans have come to take reports of violent crime in stride. In some cases, we regret to say, it's like water off a duck's back.

But every now and again we are jolted by a particularly heinous and seemingly senseless act. Such was the murder on Monday of 27 year-old used car dealer Mr Michael Rochester on the Spur Tree main road in Manchester.

The police have detained three suspects in relation to Mr Rochester's murder and we trust the investigation will be successfully concluded — leading to the conviction of those responsible. We have since learnt that one of the three suspects is on bail on a murder and shooting charge while the other was recently acquitted of murder.

Early indications are that the motive for Mr Rochester's murder was theft. Those who had come purportedly to buy a car from Mr Rochester opted to steal it instead. In doing so, they chose to shoot him and push him from the car.

We will probably never know for sure why it was considered necessary to kill Mr Rochester. It could just be, as some would have it, that Mr Rochester's killers are simply "dawg hearted and wicked".

The incident, though, should serve as a lesson for all of us, whether we live in a so-called peaceful rural setting or the urban centres, that extreme caution should be exercised when doing business with strangers.

For example, the police high command have repeatedly said that police personnel are willing and able to assist in transactions such as that which went so sadly awry in the case of Mr Rochester. Jamaicans should take them at their word.

We would be amiss were we to end without a word on the quick and seemingly well coordinated police action in apprehending the suspects.

Jamaicans have had reason on occasions to question the competence and judgement of the police as they seek to intercept fleeing criminals.

In this latest case we are told by the Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington that the "outcome was realised through strong policing efforts that utilised basic principles such as observation, and was assisted greatly by an environment of open and clear communication".

Mr Ellington is reported as saying the incident should be a reminder to all members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force of what can be achieved when police officers support each other.

This newspaper joins Mr Ellington and the head of the Police Area 3, Assistant Commissioner of Police Derrick Cochrane in congratulating those responsible for a job well done.

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