Commendations for St Elizabeth police leadership
BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — Leaders in this south-central parish are commending the leadership of police chief Acting Superintendent Coleridge Minto for curtailing crime here despite resource constraints and demanding that he be promoted swiftly.
The leaders and citizens are calling on Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson to boost the manpower and resources of the St Elizabeth police.
Addressing a town hall meeting in Black River on Wednesday, organised by the St Elizabeth police and municipal corporation Anderson assured that he has deployed significant resources to the parish.
“The police in St Elizabeth have recovered this year twice the number of guns as Clarendon. They have unprecedented levels of gun recovery in St Elizabeth,” he said.
“None of our police divisions are satisfied with the resources they need. That is just not a reality. The truth is the needs are great and there has been significant investment. As commissioner, I have sent 21 vehicles down here over the period and about 10 motorcycles,” said Anderson while pointing to the handing over of another five motorcycles at Wednesday’s event.
He said the motorcycles are essential for a quick response team in the parish.
“We need to be agile [and] responsive, so our quick response motorcyclists make a large difference to things, because they are difficult to see. They are well trained…We have found that wherever they have operated in the country, we have seen reductions in things like robberies,” he said while adding that 34 members have been deployed to St Elizabeth this year.
Mayor of Black River Derrick Sangster commended Minto for his efforts to “temper” crime in St Elizabeth.
“In so doing to create a safer space for us to operate in. Violence producers have come into our parish, because it is sometimes seen as a safe haven. We are changing that and St Elizabeth is becoming an unfriendly location for such violence producers. We are beginning to bring back St Bess to what it used to be in the glory days,” said Sangster.
Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth South Western Floyd Green said Minto’s leadership has motivated the parish.
“I want to commend the work of the police across the parish. We have gone through some rough years, but we have seen the police taking the steps necessary to bring us back to where we want to be. I have to commend Superintendent Minto. He has truly hit the ground running,” said Green.
“He has truly recognised what it takes to effectively police and I see it in the motivation of the officers under his charge and I see it in how he is engaging the community,” added Green.
As each speaker acknowledged Minto at the town hall, there were shouts from the audience to not refer to the police chief as “acting superintendent”. “He is not a movie star,” said a resident who identified himself as “Channer”.
Anderson assured Minto has his full confidence.
“I am here to support the team…When we have a team like this and you know you want them somewhere else and you want them here. I am not moving him. He is going to stay. Just in case there were any thoughts of it,” said Anderson.
Minto, who was assigned to St Elizabeth following the June 19 jailbreak at the Black River lock-up of eight escapees, said migrant criminals are being targeted by the police.
“We will continue our efforts and our resolve to ensure that this parish remains safe. It perhaps is not the easiest way to say it, but this is not a parish for criminals to come and hide. We will pursue them. We will find them and we will allow the rule of law to take its course and to bring them before the justice system,” he said.
“Since the start of the year St Elizabeth would have arrested a number of violence producers. Some who fled from other parishes and came into our space. We are going to increase our border patrols,” added Minto.
The police chief warned suspects to surrender when being intercepted.
“Do not challenge our police officers…Every fight we go in we must win. Surrender to the police, do not challenge our officers… We ask our citizens that if we knock on your door, please surrender. Do not engage our officers,” said Minto.
Anderson shared a similar sentiment.
“Do not take on the police when they are coming to arrest or you get caught. Just come in and let us go through the process. If you engage them, they will engage you and if they engage you, they are supposed to win every single time,” he said.