Superintendent Parkins urges citizens to desist from supporting criminals
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Commander of the St James Police Division Superintendent Egbert Parkins is urging persons to desist from providing support to members of the more than 20 gangs operating in the parish.
According to Parkins, roughly 77 per cent of the almost 1,500 murders recorded in St James over the last seven years were gang related.
"Support for criminals from some persons in the communities has caused us to have these murders. We can't afford to continue," Superintendent Parkins stressed.
"Between 2006 and last week Thursday, the parish of St James lost 1,472 precious souls to murder. When you average that, based on the population of St James, of 18,4274, you get an average of 794 per 100,000. If we were a country by itself no one would want to come to invest."
He condemned persons who assist gangsters to stage fund-raising events, arguing that the proceeds from these functions are frequently used to purchase illegal guns and ammunition.
"Persons offer him or herself as a surrogate to a gangster to apply for permission to keep a dance, not knowing that the money made from that dance will be used to buy guns and ammunitions to shoot down their loved ones, to make money to silence witnesses, to make money to control communities. They must stop it," said Superintendent Parkins.
He further noted that out of desperation some of the mobsters are now reaching out to persons outside the parish for assistance in accessing authorisation from the police to stage entertainment events.
The commanding officer for St James was speaking last week at a public forum hosted by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) at the Montego Bay Civic Centre.
For several years the parish of St James has been struggling to keep crime and violence at a tolerable level.
Superintendent Parkins told the gathering that in 2006, the parish recorded a total of 178 murders; 188 in 2007; 214 in 2008; 240 in 2009; 189 in 2010; 158 in 2011;153 in 2012; and 152 up to last Thursday.
Last week alone, 12 persons were shot dead, including two triple murders in what is said to be one of the bloodiest weeks in the recent history of the parish.
At a media briefing following the murders, Parkins listed three St James men as persons of interest in both triple murders. They are: Rylon Brown, also called 'Rylon Mighty' and 'Kirki' of Catherine Hall, 20-year-old Sonjah Holness, who also goes by the moniker 'Crime', and 'Little Zulus' of a North Gully address in Montego Bay.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Parkins used the platform during the public forum to warn that the police will be resolute in their quest to bring down criminal elements and those backing them.
"Let those who are involved in crime, especially murders, shootings and robberies, and those who are supporting them, understand that the field has been ploughed. Either they are gonna stop, they gonna run away from St James, or they are going to face the music. Because we are going to get credible evidence that we believe will place them before the court and on conviction will be sent to where they belong," he argued.
He pointed out that if confronted by gunmen, members of the security forces will move swiftly to defend themselves.
"Based on the fact that they are using guns to commit these crimes, they are gunmen. Please, they must understand that when my team comes they must place their guns down and surrender in a peaceful way. The constitution has enshrined the right to life for all. If any of them (gunmen) try to take our lives we will protect it because we have families, too," he cautioned.
He assured members of the public that the division will get an additional 35 police personnel that will assist in beefing up the presence of lawmen along the streets of Montego Bay during the festive season.
"We will be using them to cover from Fairview to Gloucester Avenue 24 hours per day, until the New Year, to ensure that people are able to go about their business.
The Montego Bay business community had expressed concern about the spate of crime and violence in the city, but following Parkins's address at the forum, Nathan Robb, the president of the MBCCI, told the Observer West that those fears have been allayed.
"Our members' concerns were related to security, but at the public forum held last week the superintendent (Parkins) was able to allay the fears, and assured that there would be police presence from Fairview going to the airport (Sangster International), ...so shoppers and all persons can go about their business in comfort and without fear," he explained.