THE police moved swiftly Thursday to calm jitters when it reported that the shooting and injury of Ryan Evans, director of corruption and prevention at the Integrity Commission (IC), was a robbery - after early speculation that it could be an attack for his work at the commission.
The gunman, who shot the IC official in one of his arms, robbed him of a briefcase he was carrying. Despite his injury Evans, according to a source, was able to drive himself to a hospital.
The incident occurred in the parking in front of Jamaica Football Federation's offices in New Kingston, St Andrew, which is located near the offices of the Integrity Commission on St Lucia Avenue.
News of the incident sparked widespread condemnation from the political directorate, business sector, and civil society.
However, Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, who is in charge of the crime portfolio, by mid-afternoon reported that the motive was robbery, which immediately served to calm fears that the public official was attacked because of his role in helping to stamp out corruption in the public sector.
"Our preliminary investigation revealed that Mr Evans went to a financial institution in Liguanea where he made a significant withdrawal and then drove to his office. He exited his motor [car] and two men rode up on a bike, pulled a firearm, and demanded a briefcase that Mr Evans had. The gunman actually pointed a firearm to his head. A struggle ensued and Mr Evans was shot in his arm and the briefcase taken by the robbers, and they left. We believe that the motive is robbery," DCP Bailey said.
The Government issued a statement on Thursday condemning the attack, describing it as shocking incident.
"The Government is deeply concerned about this incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured director and family at this time. The Integrity Commission plays a crucial role in upholding the principles of transparency, accountability, and integrity within our nation. Any act of violence directed at individuals serving in such critical roles is an affront to the values that our democracy stands for," said a Jamaica House statement.
"The Government has full confidence in the law enforcement agencies' ability to swiftly investigate this matter and bring those responsible to justice. We urge the public to cooperate with the authorities in their efforts to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation... Such incidents should not deter those committed to serving our nation with honesty and integrity. The Government of Jamaica remains committed to supporting the work of the Integrity Commission and will take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of its staff," the statement said further.
The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) also condemned the attack and called for swift investigations.
"We call on the law enforcement agencies to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into this matter. We also call on the authorities to provide additional security for the members of the Integrity Commission as they fight corruption on behalf of the people of Jamaica, including close protection officers when appropriate.
"We understand the fear and uncertainty they may be experiencing. We want to encourage the members and staff of the Integrity Commission to remain steadfast in the face of these attacks and not be weary in doing good. We emphasise our unwavering commitment to ensuring that the work of the Integrity Commission continues unhindered, free from any threats or intimidation," the PNP said in a statement.
The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, in a press release, said that it vehemently condemns "this heinous act and express our utmost concern for the safety and security of all individuals who are dedicated to upholding the principles of transparency and accountability within our nation".