Chang sees better days ahead, as gunmen kill two in GranvilleMonday, September 27, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were engaged in an intense gun battle with heavily-armed gangsters who went on a shooting and arson rampage which left two men dead and three houses torched in Granville here, during the wee hours of yesterday morning.
Another man who was shot and injured in the attack has been admitted at the Falmouth Public General Hospital.
The dead men have been identified as 64-year-old Ainsworth Bucknor, also known as Lamb's Bread, and 27-year-old Oshane Brown, who is better known as Nico. Both are from Granville.
It is still not clear if Bucknor, whose body was recovered in one of the three houses that were firebombed by the gangsters, was burnt to death or died as a result of gunshots; but Brown was said to be shot dead.
Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, who accompanied St James West Central Member of Parliament Marlene Malahoo Forte to the area, vowed to dismantle the gang said to be domiciled in and around the area.
“I want to reassure the citizens [that the police are working assiduously to disrupt the gangs. The security forces are going to take steps to disrupt the gangsters. This yesterday) morning's incident was sad and unfortunate, but we are going to ensure that the gangsters are apprehended and restore peace and public safety to the people of Granville,” Dr Chang vowed.
An obviously shaken female member of the community told the Jamaica Observer that she and her family members were awakened by a barrage of gunshots, which started from as early as 1:00 am and lasted for nearly an hour.
The security minister explained that two police squads which were a short distance away when the attack began, challenged the shooters in a gunfight, but they eventually used the shadow of darkness to escape.
“...In fact, much of the shootings that the citizens heard this morning, that caused a level of fear, was a result of the engagement of the police with the criminals,” Dr Chang disclosed.
“And although it was designed to take the police off guard they were very near. They were in Granville and they responded almost immediately. [But] at that hour in the darkness and men with high-powered weapons, the police had to be careful while engaging them.
“But the police reacted well and engaged the criminals and were able to move them from the scene, but we did lose two citizens in Granville, a gentleman who was burnt in the house. I'm not sure if he was shot as well, and a young man who was shot by the criminals,” Dr Chang said.
One young man recounted how he and his nine-year-old daughter managed to escape with their lives after his house was set ablaze by the marauding gangsters.
“I was sleeping and me hear something like shot so me go into the bathroom to urinate and while urinating me see smoke coming in the house and she [daughter] was sleeping in her room. So me run and try lick out the bathroom window but me couldn't lick out the window and me try lick out the room window and me couldn't lick out the room window so me just run back and pull her off the bed and she drop on her face and me hold her mouth and tell her don't bawl out.''
He said he lifted up the child and ran outside through the door which was blanketed in smoke and escaped. “But she heavy and mi lift her up and run through the smoke and reach at the doorway me see the next house under fire and my house under fire. The smoke a kill me... me couldn't go back inside so me tear down the fence and escape through and come up a the next yard here so.”
He bemoaned that none of their belongings was saved as the six-apartment house was completely razed by the fire.
“Couldn't save anything... six-apartmemt house burn down flat, flat. Mi daughter don't save anything, no school book, nothing, birth certificate gone. Nothing mi don't get to save,” he lamented, his voice cracking up.
For the most part, residents were tight-lipped, but one woman, who claimed to have had a relationship with Bucknor which produced a daughter, argued that he did not deserve such a violent death.
“He shouldn't have died like that. Him don't deserve to die that way,” she bemoaned.
“He is my babyfather. We have a child. He is a very nice man, jovial man. He used to repair fans and other appliances.”
One of Brown's sister, who was among a group of women, was too overwhelmed with grief to speak.
Malahoo Forte, who is also Jamaica's attorney general, offered condolence to the bereaved family members, and appealed to the members of the community to cooperate with the police.
“The people who live here, the big families who make up the community, the solution lies there [with the people]. And this Government stands willing and hopefully able to supply the support. But the people have the solution and until they are prepared to say that enough is enough and to help to deal with...either ask for the help or turn over those who are criminals... because there's a culture that has been normalised in the community,” she argued. “I note that this shooting and killing, arson, took place during curfew hours leading into an all-day curfew and that shows a high level of 'calculatedness' on the part of the criminals.”
The security minister expressed hope that the trial of the Klansman gang will prove to be game changer in proving to citizens that they will be protected when they give information about gangsters.
“The big case being tried involving the Spanish Town gang could be a tipping point in the event. We have 42 witnesses to bring and the police have to be protecting their families,” Dr Chang said.