Regional

Police reassure St Ann residents

Lead tour of Pimento Walk and Parry Town after brazen murders

BY RENAE DIXON Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 23, 2014    

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WITH a brazen double murder and several other killings in the parish, the St Ann police led a tour through Pimento Walk and the neighbouring Parry Town community in the parish last Wednesday.

Delivery truck driver Robert Blake from Lime Hall and his assistant Horace Hamilton of Steer Town were attacked as they drove through Pimento Walk on June 1 by a group of men who reportedly fired on the truck.

The truck flipped and the men continued their attack, climbing onto the overturned unit to continue firing on the men. They were later pronounced dead at the scene. With residents crippling by fear as a result of the mid-afternoon attack, a group of some 20 police officers were joined by members of the St Ann Fire Brigade, Registrar General Department, Jamaica Public Service, several ministers of religion, and other key stakeholders on a tour which served to interact with community members and reassure them that the police are there to protect them.

Also participating in the tour, aimed at calming the residents fears, was a 40-member United States missionary team now currently in the island.

The group stopped at several homes to talk and interact with the occupants. Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of administration for the parish of St Ann, Dwight Powell said the tour was to reassure the community of the police’s continued presence following several incidents over the past week.

“In the past couple of weeks we have been having a spate of violence in the community... the good thing about that is that we have some of the culprits in custody and we are getting reliable information from the community,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer North East.

He also congratulated the residents for their assistance in the fight against crime DSP Powell said the communities need to know that, apart from “hard-core policing”, the police want to build partnerships and are concerned about the issues they face. Marc Pritchett, pastor from Atlanta and head of the Reaching Unchurched Students for Him (RUSH) ministries, said his group was happy to be participating in the tour with the police.

“I feel really good, I think that God has opened the door for the religious community to partner with the government community, specifically the St Ann police department... but, in addition to that, just for the police department to come into a community not when something is wrong but just to let them know that they are here for them,” he said.

The missionaries, who have been visiting Jamaica for the past 20 years, are part of a larger 150- member group who have been in the island over the last three weeks. “We have partnered this year with the St Ann police Department to go door to door to give comfort and encourage locals,” he explained.

“The church is concerned about what is happening in our communities. We like what has been happening, the citizens are working with us, are happy to see us and to know that we too are concerned,” said Pastor Devon Heat. DSP Powell said Wednesday's tour was a success as residents were happy to have the police presence in the community. The walk, he noted, is part of a police community initiative.

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