West Kingston on edge following murder of 'Harry Dog'

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West Kingston on edge following murder of 'Harry Dog'

BY ROMARDO LYONS
Observer staff reporter
lyonsr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

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THE fatal shooting in west Kingston of community leader Harry McLeod, better known by his alias 'Harry Dog', has left several residents in fear as they believe there will be reprisals in the troubled community.

McLeod, 51, was shot several times by unknown assailants at the intersection of Darling Street and Spanish Town Road on Sunday morning. He has been described as the right hand to kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who was arrested on drug charges and extradited to the United States in 2010.

According to Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson, the Kingston West police were already on the hunt for specific individuals who are believed to be responsible for McLeod's murder.

“... We have a good sense of who did the shooting and I know the team down in Kingston West is after them with some targeted operations,” Anderson said yesterday in response to a question from by the Jamaica Observer, during a virtual press conference hosted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Anderson added that he met with the divisional heads for both Kingston West and Kingston Central on the same day, in anticipation of the “possible outcomes”.

“I visited both locations and interacted with the citizens there, and immediately we put in a response to separate these criminal gangs, using our other assets that are not assigned there in a more fluid way to interrupt this sort of thing.”

But residents of Tivoli Gardens are terrified this signals the beginning of more gang violence in and around their community. Having been caught in a cycle of prolonged bloodshed due to internal conflicts, they are pleading for intervention before the situation worsens and more innocent people fall victim.

“Yuh expect them fi kill Dudus right hand and it done right deh suh? A problem this right now fi West Kingston people. This is a big problem. Is a matter of time before somebody retaliate, and then if dem nuh ketch John, dem ago draw fi Brown or Black,” one resident told the Observer.

“The place already tense because yuh cyaan even walk a night. A two curfew we have a Tivoli. We have COVID curfew weh everybody else have and we have shooting curfew. When yuh see the place get dark, a time fi stay inna yuh yard. A bare shooting almost every night and it can only get worse when something like this come happen.”

As of January 29, 2021, 15 murders were recorded in the Kingston West police division, 12 more than the corresponding period last year. There have been 16 shootings recorded, 13 up from last year.

Even more fearful for her sons, ages 16 and 21, another resident is now calling on Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie to step in. The woman said that McKenzie, Member of Parliament for Kingston Western, has the power to set the community on the right path.

“We need Desmond down here! I don't think Desmond know exactly what is happening in this place. Desmond, just come walk through Tivoli and Denham Town and talk to yuh people dem fi hear wah gwaan,” she pleaded.

“Dem boy yah nuh like see when the place a run good. Dem like run up and dung and fire shot and kill off themselves. We nuh know when this ago done… a months now we a bawl. We need Desmond fi do something because we boy pickney dem inna danger. Dem nah fi mix up fi dead. Gunman just wah know seh yuh live somewhere fi seh yuh affiliated.”

And the unease has spilled over into Coronation Market, a neighbour of the western Kingston community, with the Observer understanding that several market vendors hailing from different parishes are also operating in heightened fear.

“This thing ago escalate worse! It nuh make nuh sense. We nuh safe! Coronation Market mash up. When a nuh COVID, a war. You have people who nuh wah come a market again because of the virus and you have people weh cyaan come a market because dem cyaan walk deh suh or dem cyaan cross deh suh because a war. So weh a man like me fi do weh a try make me honest bread?” one vendor lamented.


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