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McKenzie says attack on bodyguards 'frightening'

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014    

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POLICE in West Kingston were on high alert last night after gunmen engaged members of the security detail of member of Parliament Desmond McKenzie in the constituency.

The incident happened outside a funeral parlour on North Street where McKenzie was finalising burial arrangements for 12-year-old Kawayne McAnuff who, along with 28-year-old Ricardo Lowe, was shot dead by gunmen in the constituency on April 4.

According to McKenzie, members of his security team were standing close to the building when three men, two armed with weapons, approached them.

A shootout ensued and during the exchange one of the attackers was shot and injured and a firearm seized, the police said. The other men escaped.

"It is frightening and it leaves a lot to be desired. I guess an attack against my close mark security can be deemed as an attack against me," said an obviously shaken McKenzie.

"I don't want to say that the attack was pointed at me but then I have no other choice but to feel that it had something to do with me in some way or the other," McKenzie told the Jamaica Observer.

The shooting has left West Kingston residents in shock.

"A over the hospital mi stan' up and hear the shot dem and when mi run come over mi hear seh is where the MP was it take place," said one resident.

The MP said while he will be assessing how he operates in the constituency going forward, the incident will not derail his efforts to rid the area of crime.

"It can't be business as usual. I will have to see how I operate and then work along those lines," said McKenzie.

Only late last year, the West Kingston MP disclosed that he had received more than 30 death threats after he spoke out against the continued violence in his constituency.

The police increased their presence in the area, however, their efforts were not enough to stop the killings, including the recent deaths of Kawayne and Lowe. The two were among 11 people who were peppered with bullets on Charles Street on the night of April 4.

Police have since released the names of several people alleged to be behind the attack.

However, the development has not gone down well with some residents who have accused McKenzie of taking sides in the ongoing feud.

Some Tivoli Gardens residents, just over a week ago, burned several T-shirts with the image of the MP and demanded that he leave the constituency, claiming that the MP was only focusing on one side of the constituency.

McKenzie has, however, refuted the claims.

"I am on the side of law and order," he declared.

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