A Jamaica Observer file photo showing members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force at the scenein St Andrew where a businessman was shot dead by gunmen. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)
'Good citizens' hiring contract killers to settle domestic disputes, says security minister

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Security Minister Dr Horace Chang is expressing concern over the growing trend of contract killings emerging across the island.

“It is an unfortunate trend that we are seeing emerging,” the security minister bemoaned.

He added that the occurrence is becoming so widespread that even “good citizens” are now hiring killers to settle domestic disputes.

“I am concerned by the growing use of violence by even some of who may be considered non-traditional criminals to kill people,” Dr Chang said.

But he noted that although contract killings are difficult to police, strides are being made to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice.

“When you see these kind of things happening it's very worrying, but the Government recognises it, and the police have taken steps to train their men, orient their intelligence activity, and do the required work to identify and find the killers — those who organise the killings, those who manage the killers, and the killers themselves to get them off the road,” he said.

Speaking at a public forum hosted by the Ministry of National Security inside the auditorium of the Manning's School, Thursday night, Dr Chang argued that the killing of two women at a business place in Whitehouse, Westmoreland, on Wednesday had the characteristic of a hit.

The deceased have been identified as 45-year-old Sophia Brown and 63-year-old Bernie Lewis, both of Long Hill in Whitehouse, Westmoreland.

According to the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), the communication arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, about 2:10 pm on Wednesday, Brown and Lewis were at the business place when two men entered, posing as customers. A few moments later, the men pulled firearms and shot the women.

They were were taken to hospital where they were both pronounced dead.

“I can say it openly; if you see a gunmen walk in a shop, kill two women, steal nothing, it has to be a hired killer. Criminals going to look money they rob and take something. If they go for a gun they go tek the gun,” he stated.

Contract killings have been a major concern to the police over several years as people hire gunmen to spouses, relatives, and people with whom they have disputes.

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

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