WATCH: Fear grips Westmoreland amid spate of robberies, murders
WESTMORELAND, Jamaica – Amid a spate of robberies and murders in Westmoreland this week, business owners have locked their establishments early in fear of their lives. They are also pressing Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Western Morland Wilson to appeal for a State of Public Emergency (SOE).
When Observer Online visited the Little London Community on Friday afternoon, it was a ghost town. Many businesses were closed, while others were selling through a grille or window, peeking out to see if danger is lurking.
“We are all living in fear. Yesterday they robbed in Little London and everyone scrambling to go home. Today now is the same, every shop closed. Everybody living in fear,” he argued.
Meanwhile, Wilson said there have been an uptick in criminal activities in his constituency and citizens and business owners have expressed that they are fearful.
“What we have seen is that there is a growing cry for the reimposition of the State of Public Emergency (SOE) in Westmoreland, in particular Westmoreland Western,” he said.
Reports are that on Wednesday, three bars and one supermarket was robbed in the Little London area. The criminals continued their act on Thursday where a supermarket was robbed in Negril.
“In the past few days, there is an unprecedented spate of robberies taking place in the constituency of Westmoreland Western. In fact, all my five divisions have been suffering from this form of activity by these hoodlums. Just an hour or two ago, I got more reports that there have been a series of robberies taking place in the space heading towards Negril, Orange Hill in particular,” Wilson explained.
Wilson noted that livelihoods are being affected.
“The reports I’m getting are truly disturbing. Over 20 individuals in several vehicles are going into communities and going around robbing persons. It is something that we as citizens want, we are fearful. Several persons have indicated that their usual activities have been impacted,” Wilson said, adding that criminals tend to strike during the yuletide season.
“Coming on to Christmas, we have always seen some uptick in crime. This State of Emergency we have had it in the past during this period, and it has helped. So I think at this moment it is just appropriate for us to speak with the Minister of National Security, look at what assets, and deploy it in the constituency of Westmoreland,” he said.
In commenting on the issue, Deputy Superintendent of police (DSP) in charge of operations in the Westmoreland Police Division, Adrian Hamilton told Observer Online that they are working overtime to cut down these criminals.
“In the last quarter of this year we have seen an uptick in incidents of robbery and break-in in Westmoreland division. Since Monday we have seen these robberies affecting the areas of Frome, Grange Hill, Little London and Negril. We are aware that there is a syndicate of criminals some from within the parish, some from outside who have formed an alliance and are behind the latest surge,” DSP Hamilton explained.
They have employed various tactics, he said, to carry out their criminal activities including false prank calls to the police, trying to divert the cops to other areas to take them off their tail; and robbing unsuspecting persons of their motor vehicles and then using them to commit further robberies.
“The last two incidents, one in Burnt Savannah, Frome and one in Broughton unfortunately resulted in the murder of two individuals,” he becried.
Hamilton said the police is tracking the activities of these criminals and have ramped up and diversified their deployment tactics.
“It’s only a matter of time before we crush this latest surge which is being committed by greedy, reckless terrorists who are hell bent on creating mayhem. I want to assure the residents and citizens of Westmoreland that we will not rest until this is accomplished,” he reassured.
On Wednesday night, gunmen killed taxi operator Romie Taylor in Burnt Savannah and robbed him of a Grey 2011 Toyota Voxy motorcar.
The gunmen then proceeded to use the same stolen voxy to carry out the robbery and subsequent murder of Disc Jockey, Dave “DJ Myrie” Barnes, in Little London an hour later.