Chang promises swift action in bringing schoolboys’ killers to justice
ST JAMES, Jamaica— Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, has vowed to mobilise all available resources to bring to justice the perpetrators responsible for the shooting death of two primary-school boys in Flower Hill, St James, on Monday.
The boys, seven-year-old Justin Perry and nine-year-old Nahcolive Smith of Salt Spring, in the parish, were killed after the taxi in which they were travelling was shot up by gunmen.
Tevin Hayle, 26, who was also in the taxi, and is believed to have been the target of the attack, was also killed.
Minister Chang, accompanied by high-ranking law-enforcement officials, including Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, and Head of the Area One Police, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Clifford Chambers, visited the grieving parents of the young victims to offer his condolences and assurance of swift action.
The minister also stopped at the Chetwood Memorial Primary School, which the boys attended, where he met with the school principal, Garvin Atkinson.
Speaking with journalists, Dr Chang, condemned the killings, noting that the assailants, whom he labelled as “terrorists”, showed no mercy and must be dealt with decisively and severely.
“This kind of criminal activity and brutality cannot in any way be countenanced by any element of Government or security forces and we will be mobilising all resources and all possible legislation to hunt them down, to find them, to apprehend them,” he said.
Noting that the tragic incident appears to be linked to a prior killing in Flower Hill, Dr Chang said the flare-up of violence has shocked the community, which had made strides in fostering a safe environment through collaborative efforts between the police and the Jamaica Social Invest Fund (JSIF).
He pledged that every effort will be made to “find the criminals, get them out of the community and restore quiet and safety in Salt Spring.”
“I want to assure the parents of the students at Chetwood Primary School and Salt Spring Primary and the teachers who are doing outstanding work at both schools that we are going to make every effort to create a safe space for them to operate in,” he said.
For his part, Commissioner Anderson said the police have been following good leads, adding that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) remains resolute in ensuring the safety and security of the citizens of St James.
“We will do what is necessary to protect the people of St James. If criminals are going to open up automatic weapons on children, then we will have to respond as necessary to make sure that doesn’t continue,” he said.
The Chaplaincy Services and Welfare Unit of the JCF are providing support to the family members of the students.