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Holness: I still have faith in people of West Kingston

BY KARYL WALKER Editor - Crime/Court Desk walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 04, 2014    

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OPPOSITION leader Andrew Holness still has faith in the people of West Kingston despite their recent outcry against Member of Parliament Desmond McKenzie and threats to switch their support to the ruling People's National Party.

Speaking during the Jamaica Observer's Press Club on Thursday, Holness said that he believed in the resolve of the residents of a constituency which is known for its fanatical support of the Jamaica Labour Party but has recently painted slogans in support of the PNP.

"The people there are genuine in their belief. People have been crying out for the party's attention and intervention. We have been working quietly and have gone in there to show our support. It is not the first time that we have had this kind of fallout where signs have been painted over. West Kingston is a strong constituency," he said.

The area has been gripped in a bloody gang war which has resulted in several children being killed or shot and injured.

Police report that the feuding criminal outfits are at loggerheads over a multi-million-dollar extortion racket and the right to control turf.

The residents complain that since the extradition of former strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, things have fallen apart and the community which was once known for its 'order' has been on a path of self destruction as young hoodlums seek to stamp fear with the rule of the gun.

Holness argued that it is important for the people of West Kingston to find closure from the May 2010 operation by the security forces in search of Coke which left 73 people dead.

"There is still some hangover. We need to bring some closure. The incursion left wounds which need to heal. The nation needs it to heal. We want to heal," he said.

He said that the upcoming commission of inquiry into the massacre will go a far way in bringing closure to the residents, some of whom have not seen their relatives since that fateful day four years ago.

The JLP government's delay in handing over Coke to the US authorities, who wanted him arrested on charges of racketeering, weighed heavily on the mind of the electorate, who voted heavily against the party and handed a landslide victory to the Portia Simpson Miller-led PNP in December 2011.

According to Holness, his party has been doing its due diligence and is confident of a better showing when next a general election is called.

"We are election ready," he said.

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