St James continues to bleed despite SOE
The scene of Wednesday night's double murder in Bogue Village, St James

BOGUE VILLAGE, Montego Bay – Even after yet another brazen double murder rocked St James less than 24 hours into a state of public emergency (SOE), those who welcomed the security measure still insist it is effective.

"Unfortunately, when you do things you don't see the benefits of it immediately. It's like planting a tree, but the day you plant the seed, the tree doesn't grow the same day," Councillor Dwight Crawford (Jamaica Labour Party, Spring Garden Division) told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday, when asked for a reaction to the latest shooting that left two men dead and two injured.

"I know that people will expect that because an SOE has been declared, it is automatically going to just stop everything. It has now been declared and the security forces are out there working and I suspect, in very short order, we'll start to see positive results," he added.

An SOE was declared for St James and Hanover along with another for Clarendon at 12:01 am on Tuesday.

According to the police, about 9:45 pm on Wednesday armed men walked up to patrons at a shop in Bogue Village, where lottery tickets are sold and other games of chance played, and began shooting. Four men were shot. They were all taken to hospital where 30-year-old Jermaine Miller of Marine Circle in Bogue Village, and a man only identified by the alias 'Tall Man' were pronounced dead. Tall Man was wearing a yellow T-shirt and blue short jeans at the time of his death.

On Thursday, the shop where the shooting took place and Miller's Shipping, which was owned by one of the men killed, both remained shuttered.

A few individuals milled about the plaza where the shooting occurred but there was noticeable tension in the air. Few people wanted to talk, and focused instead on going about their business.

"The man them just shoot up the place and the two man dead," was one man's abridged version of the incident.

Another man was overheard saying, "Miller a good youth."

He would not elaborate when asked.

The police were also not saying much. According to one Observer source, they were actively pursuing a number of leads.

Meanwhile, preliminary investigations suggest the shooting was not an act of reprisal.

Councillor Mark McGann (Jamaica Labour Party, Somerton Division) is among those whose faith in the effectiveness of the SOE has not been shaken by the latest murders. However, he hinted that a firmer approach may be needed.

"What it is set to do, if those [measures] are implemented, it will have the effect; but you can't be subjective. Say something like locking down; everybody has to do what they are doing early so the police can operate freely within the space after a certain time," he said.

Meanwhile, Councillor Crawford is asking for a firmer hand within the community where Wednesday's shooting took place.

"I am asking for increased police activity and I am asking the security forces go into the community of Bogue and do a thorough turning of things in there to get out the perpetrators. I am appealing for some more resources to be directed to the area of Bogue so that we can bring back comfort and peace to the community," he pleaded.

Wednesday's double murder comes on the heels of Monday evening's slaying of 42-year-old tour operator Robert Harvey, who was fatally shot, allegedly by individuals who lured him with the pretence of purchasing a motor vehicle from him. Harvey was ambushed and shot several times.

Crawford has a theory about the root of the violence on display within the community.

"What I have been noticing about some of these murders is that they are not robberies but feuds between friends and associates that are unresolved and fester," the councillor told the Observer.

"I want to take the opportunity to call on citizens. They need to help the police with information and whatever interventions they can, to assist us to be more efficient in solving the problem," he appealed.

So far this year the St James Police Division has had the most murders, with neighbouring Hanover showing a 75 per cent year-on-year increase up to Tuesday.

In St James, within the last two weeks there have been at least five different cases where multiple individuals were shot and killed during a single incident.

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