MONTEGO BAY, St James — THE police have sought to silence rumours of a connection between the lottery scam and the recent brutal rape of five females, including an eight-year-old girl, at Irwin Point in St James.
Head of the Area One Police Division Assistant Commission of Police (ACP) Devon Watkis said it is simply too early in their investigations to tell.
"To date our investigations cannot confirm that. But our investigations continue so we may just find or be able to determine that as a fact, but not at this time," he said.
The ACP was addressing reporters during a press conference, held at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay last week, to update the nation on the crime situation in the police division, which is comprised of Westmoreland, Hanover, St James, and Trelawny.
Since the rape and robbery incident in the middle-class community last month, the rumour mill has been rife with stories of a link with the illegal sweepstakes.
President of the Irwin Point Citizens Association Ouida King has rubbished the assertions.
"I would dispel these claims; I have no knowledge of that," she told the Observer West.
"I have always known the children [the young victims] who are very, very well-mannered; that is all I can say. There are a lot of rumours, but when these things happen, one always hears a lot of things," King added.
The victims were reportedly tied up and raped at gunpoint on September 24 in an attack that has since attracted widespread condemnation. In the wake of the assault, the females, including two teens, had to receive medical treatment at hospital. The eight-year-old had to undergo emergency surgery.
King disclosed Tuesday that the little girl is recovering.
"She is definitely getting better and the others are doing well too," she said.
Last week, two brothers were slapped with multiple charges in connection with the incident. Both accused are jointly charged for burglary, robbery with aggravation, illegal possession of firearm, abduction, and assault at common law.
Additionally, one of them has been charged for rape, buggery, sexual touching, and grievous sexual assault, while the other was slapped with a further charge of rape and grievous sexual assault.
Head of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Superintendent Gladys Brown said the police have withheld the names of the accused, as they might be required to face identification parades for other crimes.
Meanwhile, King said residents of Irwin Point have fast-tracked plans to retain the services of a security company to provide around-the-clock patrons in the area, even as members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force conduct their own patrol in the area.
"We are having police and soldiers going around and we are encouraging all the citizens to get proper security. We have made arrangements to have 24-hour security in place and we are also encouraging residents to put alarm systems in their homes," she said, adding that the community is still in fear.
"We are still fearful, mainly because we are so open and in so much bush and hardly have any street lights. Taxi- men don't come in here at night. We are still fearful," King noted.