Secret killings!

Riverton City residents claim up to nine people murdered, but not reported

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, June 16, 2019

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SOMETHING deadlier than the stench of garbage now looms over Riverton City, as residents of the St Andrew Western community insist that up to nine people have been killed there in recent months, which have gone largely unnoticed by the media and wider society.

Just weeks ago a body was found on the dump but according to one resident, that was just one of nine homicides that occurred between December 2018 and March of this year that have yet to be solved by the police.

It was a claim that was not readily denied by the commanding officer for the St Andrew South Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force — the area under which Riverton City falls —Superintendent of Police Gary Francis, who suggested that he would have to acquaint himself with the statistics before he could provide details.

Superintendent Francis told the Jamaica Observer that although he could not confirm the number of killings on the spot, the community has been having challenges with gang violence in recent times.

“Riverton is one of those communities that has its own challenges. We are aware that a number of persons have been killed in the community, but I don't have the figure off the top of my head. I can confirm that a body was found on the dump a few weeks ago. There are gangs that continue to be at each other and the terrain in Riverton is really challenging to police. Despite that, we have been doing a number of joint military-police operations just to ensure that the criminal element in Riverton is insulated as best as possible from the citizens and we bring them to justice,” said Superintendent Francis.

However, when the Sunday Observer visited the community last week, the residents were alarmed at the nine people whom they said were killed in ongoing gang-related incidents that the police seemed numbed to handle.

“You know how many people [have]been killed in Riverton between last year and now? You know how many youth have been killed by gang violence?” postured one resident who argued that the incidents have not been reported in the media.

“About nine people dead and no one has been arrested for none of those murders. Them hold on pon people and let them go. I don't know if the police recording all of these things because to me it seems like is animal and rubbish deh a Riverton,” the resident continued.

Other residents vented their concerns about the ongoing gang feud which continue to drive fear into law-abiding inhabitants of a community which borders on the island's largest dump.

“A pure things a gwaan roun a Riverton from the other day,” one sanitation worker said. “It come in like nobody no care bout we and we safety. The police and soldier dem pass through sometime but you cyah stop gang war by just driving through. You must place yourself in a strategic way in order fi ketch the gunman dem,” the resident said.

Yet another blamed Member of Parliament G Anthony Hylton for “abandoning” them in their time of need, as, according to her, the MP was “nowhere to be seen or heard” when the people want to discuss their plight in a community that they described as a “PNP (Opposition People's National Party) den”.

“Dat dey MP a mussi di worst MP dem have ina politics. We don't even see him. Di only time we see anything bout him a when him dress up ina him suit and deh pon tv,” the resident said.

Today, the funeral of a 31-year-old man who was slain last April will be held. One relative, who spoke with the Sunday Observer while in the middle of making final preparations to bury her loved one, said she and several other family members and friends were gathered around a gambling table when armed men entered the yard and sprayed the now-deceased with bullets.

The relative did not wish to be identified.

“Everybody witnessed his death... mother, father, nieces and nephew. Everybody was there when some men come into the yard and shoot him up.

“Is about two years now this is going on and there is no one to say 'peace'. No councillor, no MP, no church people. I guess death is not at their door so no one cares. We just have to sit back and see who next,” said the resident.


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