POLICE in the St Catherine North Police Division have painted out the murals of dons and 'bad men' in a bid to quash the attraction of impressionable youngsters to gangsterism.
Superintendent Anthony Castelle took the Jamaica Observer on a tour of the tough division yesterday and pointed out several murals — that formerly had images of gang leaders and their cronies who had been cut down — which have been either smashed or painted over in the blue of the constabulary.
"Gangsterism will not cut it. It is not the way forward, and we want the young people in this division to know that there is no place for that here. We have taken over the division and we will not allow gangsters to leave the impression that this is the way forward for the young people. It is just not acceptable," Castelle told the Observer.
Murals of gang leaders that were painted over by the police included those of former One Order gang boss Oliver 'Bubba' Smith, whose mural was in the One Order headquarters of Tawes Pen. Smith was gunned down on Festival Road in St Andrew in July 2004. He was shot in the abdomen, the neck and forehead. Police say they found four .762 spent shells, the type used in a AK47 assault rifle, at the crime scene.
The police have also painted out murals of Bubba's successor Andrew Hope, also known as 'Bun Man'.
Hope had taken over the reins of leadership of the notorious criminal outfit after Smith's demise and was cut down by a gunman on Ellis Street while he was in his silver Honda Civic motor car two years after Smith's murder.
According to Castelle, the police will not relent in their drive to rid the division of the concept that gangsters are the ultimate role models, and have been working with communities to restore law and order and to re-inforce the proper values and attitudes among young impressionable minds in that community.
"We are not leaving this division until we have rid it of the scourge of gangsterism. No retreat, no surrender," he said.
Murals have also been painted over or smashed in the volatile communities of Jones Avenue, a known Klansman stomping ground; Gravel Heights, where several persons have been killed during a battle between forces allied to the Klansman gang; Tredegar Park, Thompson Pen, Shelter Rock, and other hotbed communities in the division.
For years, the Klansman and One Order gangs have been at loggerheads in Spanish Town and its environs, and the ongoing feud has resulted in hundreds of persons being killed over the last decade.
However, the new initiative by the police has resulted in a drastic reduction in murders and shootings, and the police have vowed that they will not back down in their bid to keep the criminals at bay.
"We are passionate about our job, and we owe it to Jamaica to keep crime down in this division. Things have improved here, and we aim to keep it on the up," Castelle said.