BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth – Even as the country faces an upsurge in murders, new head of the St Elizabeth police Superintendent Dwight Daley is confident that the south-central parish will continue to benefit from the gains of his predecessor.
Daley took office on January 3, replacing Superintendent Narda Simms, who had led the division since June 2020.
With St Elizabeth recording a 33 per cent reduction in major crimes in 2021 compared to 2020, Daley is hopeful that intensive operations will continue that trend.
He lauded Superintendent Simms and the division for attaining the reductions.
“… I believe that is very commendable, so I intend to continue on those gains. I tend to ramp up my operations,” he said.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer at the St Elizabeth police's headquarters in Black River last Thursday following a tour of the police stations in the parish with Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang and Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, Daley said he intends to keep police officers motivated.
“There will be intensive operations right across the parish. I intend to keep a close relationship with my stakeholders and I also want to do everything possible to keep my team motivated, because with a motivated workforce you can achieve great things,” he said.
He added that there will be “robust operations and thorough investigations”.
Dr Chang and the commissioner pledged their continued support to the St Elizabeth police.
Anderson pointed to last month's killing of two Chinese nationals in Bellevue (close to Southfield) to depict the cold-blooded nature of criminals.
“This is the reflection of the [type] of criminals we have, who could go in there. People are not resisting. They could easily do a robbery, but they still want to kill and that is what we are facing across the country. This is not normal behaviour. This is the behaviour of people who are intent on creating mayhem and want to create as much fear and terror in the community as possible,” he said.
“We have some idea who they (criminals) may be and we are after them. [There] are a number of others who have been rampant since the beginning of this year. I think it is important that I give a certain amount of reassurance to people who are listening and watching,” he added.
Dr Chang reiterated that Jamaica is a major drugs and gun transshipment port.
“We have over 300 potential entry points on our coastline and we are in the middle of the Caribbean. We are a very central trading point for illegal activity. People involved in drug trading bring guns into Jamaica,” he said.
He said criminals involved in lottery scamming and advanced credit fraud “all buy guns to protect themselves and their gangs”.
He added that the Government invested heavily in the maritime, air and cyber command (MACC) to crackdown on smugglers.
“It was a very costly operation, but the Coast Guard is the principal policing tool on the coastline. The police have a Marine Division, but that is more inshore and we are coastal,” he said.
In recent months, the MACC has made major breakthroughs, including a $1.1-billion cocaine bust off the coast of Black River last November that resulted in three men being arrested and the interception of a vessel with illegal guns and ammunition last December off the coast of the St Elizabeth, which resulted in two fishermen being arrested.