'A new kind of savagery'

'A new kind of savagery'

PM condemns killing of homeless men; says a deportee detained for questioning

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness confirmed in Parliament last night that a deportee has been detained by the police in the search for the killer(s) of four street people on the streets of the Corporate Area Monday morning.

“The police are now pulling out all the stops to investigate these murders. They have one suspect in custody, and this is in relation to the three homeless persons who were killed downtown, in the Sutton Street area. That person is a deportee,” Holness told the House of Representatives yesterday.

He added that he did not intend to say too much about the investigations, but he wanted the country to know that the police are investigating the murders and they do have a suspect in custody, with strong evidence.

Holness said further that, while the police have not abandoned the theory that the killings had been coordinated, there was not yet evidence to confirm this.

“But, with such numbers, you cannot rule out the possibility of a co-ordinated attack; but, at this point, it does not seem that way,” Holness added.

He said that Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson has increased patrols in the areas known to accommodate numbers of homeless people and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has been doing the same, because, “If it is the case that it is a serial event, meaning that there might be more perpetrators planning to do it, again, we will be prepared and will probably be able to prevent it.”

Earlier yesterday, Jamaica House issued a release in which the prime minister said that the killing of the homeless men and the severe wounding of two others represented a new kind of savagery, “especially given what appears to be the serial nature of the attacks which call for a new kind of policing”.

“We will spare no effort in investigating the heinous and barbaric murders of these men who are among our society's most vulnerable people,” he said.

The release stated that he was horrified by the news of the murders, noting “that crime and violence continue to wreak havoc on our society and that the Government will continue to apply pressure, using all available resources to flush out violent criminals”.

Said Holness: “We have been working to address the problem of homelessness in Jamaica, particularly in downtown Kingston, where we recently established drop-in centres. Now we must redouble our efforts to ensure that this vulnerable group is properly provided for and that there are more clean, safe and accessible places for them.”

The prime minister also pointed out that the matter was discussed at length during yesterday's meeting of Cabinet.

Discussions were also held with minister with responsibility for local government Desmond McKenzie, as well as Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams, who are currently exploring further ways of providing service and protection, both immediate and in the long term, for the homeless population.

See related story:

Bloody 24-hour period as criminals keep cops busy


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