It's a good look

It's a good look

Residents, MP, welcome prime minister's decision to declare Greenwich Town a ZOSO

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 02, 2020

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SEVERAL residents of the troubled St Andrew South Western community of Greenwich Town yesterday welcomed the decision by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to declare the area a zone of special operation (ZOSO), and their Member of Parliament Angela Brown Burke is sharing their joy.

A flare-up of gang violence in the community in recent weeks has left seven people dead and several others injured in at least eight shooting incidents.

These included a June 3 incident on Eighth Street in the community that left two people dead and three others nursing gunshot wounds. The area known as Hottas Corner on Seventh Street was also the scene of a fatal drive-by shooting.

Incidents such as these pushed Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson and Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Rocky Ricardo Mead to recommend to Holness that the area be declared a ZOSO, a move that the residents welcomed.

“Me agree with the ZOSO 100 per cent because them a keep we safe. Me like it. It is a good look for the community,” declared Tina Hewitt as she stood metres from a security forces checkpoint on Seventh Avenue in the community many call Greenwich Farm.

“I don't have a problem with the ZOSO because it offers us protection, but when the ZOSO is here I want the soldiers to do their work, because you have a lot of security personnel who, when they are placed at a place, they do not do their jobs,” said fellow resident Venessa Morgan.

On West Avenue “Tallman” stood inside his yard with a smile on his face as he watched members of a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) team carrying out identification checks.

“When the soldier and police dem is here we safer on the road because a them a protect we. You have time when the gunman them a go through and all in a day you can't go on the road,” Tallman told the Jamaica Observer.

Brown Burke underscored that the prime minister's decision to declare the area a ZOSO is one she has repeatedly called for.

“I have been calling for quite some time for a ZOSO to be established in the area,” Brown Burke told the Observer as she argued that this was necessary despite a state of emergency in place in the St Andrew South Police Division which covers Greenwich Town.

“I am hoping that with the establishment of the ZOSO we can deal with issues like electricity which we have not been able to deal with, we can deal with the issue of water … and complete a sporting facility that we have done a lot of work on so far, and a number of other activities that I see reported in the other ZOSOs.

“I am also looking forward to the establishment of the committee where the eaders will be a part of the voice that will be given to the issues and to help identify the areas of priority that we can work on so that the community is better off and can be held up to the rest of Jamaica as the kind of transformation that you will see when all parties work together,” added Brown Burke.

In declaring Greenwich Town a ZOSO, Holness argued that this would allow the implementation of a coherent strategy with social intervention, “with the aim that people gain confidence in the security forces and trust the justice system so that the new culture of the community is self-sustaining and permanent”.

According to Holness, the concept of ZOSOs, first introduced in Mount Salem St James in 2017, has proven itself and shows that the security forces can take back control, and enforce the rule of law, while respecting the rights of citizens.

“An analysis of the situation in the Greenwich Town area has revealed that the community continues to be characterised by increased gang-related violence and criminal activities as the gangs compete for area dominance.

“Overall the intervention in the space will be geared at the urgent need to save lives and setting the conditions for, and delivery of, effective social interventions to reduce social vulnerability to violence and crime,” declared Holness.

The prime minister was supported by Commissioner Anderson who noted that the first six months of this year have been marked by violence in Greenwich Town.

“The gang warfare in the community has endangered public safety, causing citizens who want to live in peace, to live in fear. It has eroded the social fabric and robbed people of their livelihoods. Communities like Greenwich Town have become subjects to criminals and criminality and it is absolutely imperative that we take these communities back,” said Anderson.

“We police these communities every day and we are well aware that there are men, women, and children who desperately need for us to build strong legitimate social structures that will keep the gangs and gangsters out of their neighbourhoods.

“The violence in the community requires a sustained intervention, not only to disrupt the current gang activities and to slow the escalation of violent crime, but to create safer spaces so that Government agencies and civil society can employ measures geared towards social development within the community,” added Anderson.

1) To the west, beginning at the intersection of Marcus Garvey Drive and Third Avenue, the boundary extends in a north-easterly direction along Third Avenue and then south-easterly along the train line continuing north-easterly parallel to West Avenue, then to the east of Greenwich Town All-Age School to Spanish Town Road to the north.

2) It continues south-easterly along Spanish Town Road to the shared parish boundaries of Kingston and St Andrew in the vicinity of the intersection of Spanish Town Road and Maxfield Avenue.

3) To the east, it continues from the vicinity of the intersection of Spanish Town Road and Maxfield Avenue in a south-westerly direction along the boundary of Kingston and St Andrew down to Marcus Garvey Drive.

4) To the south, the boundary extends from the intersection of the shared parish boundary in a north-westerly direction at the intersection with Third Avenue.


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