No comfort in Manchester community
But stakeholders vow to restore calm as police, military step up presence following crime outbreakMonday, May 31, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Prior to last Thursday's walk-through by the security forces, political representatives and others in the community of Comfort, the area was not living up to its name following two shooting incidents, one of which was a murder.
Located in the Royal Flat Division of the Manchester Central constituency, Comfort has been on edge since 43-year-old mechanic Shawn Pryce was gunned down at his home in a section of the community known as Lancewood.
Pryce was at his house on Saturday, May 22 about 11:30 pm when he was killed — two days after another man was shot and injured in another section of the community. Police believe the incidents are related and that they are due to a fallout among criminals.
“We are here on an intervention operation with stakeholders, because things are not what they ought to be in the community of Comfort. It seems like it is going counter to that. Recently there were two incidents in the community,” Manchester police chief Superintendent Gary Francis told journalists last week.
“We are hearing that there are plans by this 'grouping' that is having this conflict. They were once friends and they have some dispute. As a result of that, they are resolving it in a violent way. We understand that people are called from [outside] the parish to come to join the conflict,” he said.
In a show of high-powered strength the police and military have maintained a strong presence in the area, with even the Jamaica Defence Force Thales Bushmaster (armoured military unit) patrolling the community.
Manchester Central Member of Parliament Rhoda Crawford and councillor for the Royal Flat Division — Donovan Mitchell, who is also the mayor of Mandeville, joined the tour — described as a 'social intervention' — alongside the security forces, church groups, justices of the peace, and others targeting the restoration of peace.
Crawford is appealing for anyone with information to assist the police in restoring peace to come forward.
“I have always maintained the view that for us to deal with the crime situation in this country and the parish, it requires a collaborative effort... I am using this opportunity to appeal to all the residents of Comfort to share what you know with the police. It is very frightening that just a few weeks ago it was reported that all major crimes were on the decline here in the parish and in less than two weeks we have had a murder and shooting,” said Crawford.
“People are terrified and frightened, and they don't want to see the community being overrun by criminal elements,” she added.
Mitchell said there needs to be a resolution of disputes among relatives in the community.
“Comfort has always been a place that is comfortable, you could walk through at any time, but most recently some things have been happening. The surprise is, except for a few of the names that were called, everybody here, they are all families. [They] need to sit down and resolve the problems they are having,” he said.
“You hear [people] talking about retaliation. Why are you going to kill your own family? The children are going to be left without a father or a mother,” he added.
The names being called include 24 men — one listed by the police as wanted and others as persons of interests.
The wanted man, Christopher Silent, is being sought by the Financial Investigations Division (FID).
Meanwhile, the persons of interests are: Romario Ellis, otherwise called Fudgie; Akeem, otherwise called Rustie; Chevon Mullings; Richard Miller, otherwise called Ricky; Kimoy Thomas; Omar Henry; Jermaine Rowe; Radjney Parker, otherwise called Sky man; Jahner Mahoney; Bruce Campbell; Tafiry Campell, otherwise called Mousey; Dwight Henry otherwise called Tweety bird; Dennis King, otherwise called Crackers; Raheem, otherwise called Rustie; Donald Scott, otherwise called Douglas or Webba; and Marlon Thomas, otherwise called Mat.
Seven of the men are known only by their aliases. They are: Jimroy, Kenny, Pim Pim, Westman, Little D, Jay, and Ginga Webba.
Francis sought to reassure residents, even as he warned criminals not to seek safe haven in Comfort.
“We want criminal elements to know that there is no place, absolutely none, for criminal activities,” he said.
“We are going through and interacting with citizens, giving the reassurance. We also recognise that there are a number of youths in this community. We will be looking at activities or programmes [in partnership with] our stakeholders to see how well we could travel these bright minds into something worthwhile, into something productive for the community,” he added.