Trelawny stakeholders moving to tame crime in Wakefield after two recent fatal shootingsThursday, August 05, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
WAKEFIELD, Trelawny — In the wake of a recent spike in murders in the once-peaceful community of Wakefield, Trelawny, stakeholders in the parish will stage a walk-through on Independence Day there, in a bid to nip the threat of further spread of violence in the bud.
Political representatives, headed by Member of Parliament for Trelawny Northern Tova Hamilton; members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, led by Superintendent Carlos Russell, commanding officer of the Trelawny Police Division; justices of the peace, among others, will participate in the walk-through of the community which has remained tense following the two most recent murders.
“I have noted a recent spate of murders within the Wakefield area and I am of the belief that too many lives are being lost unnecessarily. I am quite disturbed by the occurrences, especially the brazen daylight attacks. Trelawny is not generally a problematic parish and I do not want us to go down a path from which we cannot return,” Hamilton told the Jamaica Observer West.
“It is based on these concerns that I reached out and made arrangements with Superintendent Russell to do a walk-through of the Wakefield/Friendship area to personally appeal to residents that violence should not be factored into conflict resolution.”
The parish, which has recorded eight murders since the start of the year, boasts the lowest murder rate across the 19 police divisions. Of the eight murders, three were reported in the Wakefield area.
“We have some concerns about the Wakefield area. We have had three murders in that space since the start of the year. So we are concerned and we want to do that march-through,” Superintendent Russell told the Observer West.
The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back and prompted the march are last month's gunslaying, in quick succession, of popular entertainer 65-year-old Glenford “Neco” Henry, and 30-year-old Christopher McKenzie, who went by the monikers 'Wire' and 'Chris'.
According to reports, about 1:15 pm on Sunday, July 25, the police were summoned to a scene in Wakefield where they found McKenzie's bullet-riddled body slumped in a white Toyota Mark X motorcar on the roadway. Further checks revealed that a 22-year-old female was shot in the head during the incident. She was later transported to hospital for treatment.
That deadly shooting attack not only followed closely on the heels of the shooting of Henry on Monday, July 12, but also unfolded in proximity to the location where the former entertainer was gunned down. However, investigators pointed out that there was no evidence to link the two killings.
On Monday, July 12, the police said that citizens heard explosions about 8:05 am, and summoned them. When the police arrived Henry was seen with gunshot wounds to the upper body. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Since then, the police have charged five people in relation to Henry's murder.
Charged with murder in connection with Henry's death are 35-year-old Ferion Smart, a tiler, of Eltham View, Spanish Town, St Catherine; 35-year-old Anthony Gibbs, otherwise called 'Short Boss' and 'Webster' of Bounty Hall, Trelawny; 27-year-old Christopher Morrison, a farmer; 31-year-old Alika Morrison, otherwise called 'Nicky'; and 60-year-old Victor Morrison, of Kitchen Crescent, Wakefield in the parish.
The police said Alika Morrison was also charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
Christopher Morrison, Gibbs and Smart surrendered to the police, cops reported.
Meanwhile, no one has been arrested in connection with McKenzie's murder.
Superintendent Russell cited that the goal of tomorrow's walk-through is, among other things, to build the residents' confidence in the police.
“We want to talk to the citizens and let them know our concerns and also to ask them for their assistance as it relates to working with the local police and passing on relevant intelligence to us. We want to let them know that they need to trust the police and call us at the first sign of trouble brewing and anything happening in the community,” the senior cop stated. “They need to reach out to the police. So we want to go in and talk to them and let them know that.”
For her part, Hamilton urged the residents to cooperate with the police.
“Residents should feel free to report any suspicious activities to the police to mitigate future incidents. It must be seen as everybody's business to maintain the peace and safety of our constituency,” the MP implored.
She added: “I am willing to provide any assistance necessary and partner with the relevant arms of Government to ensure we maintain peaceful communities in Trelawny Northern.”
One resident, who spoke to the Observer West on condition of anonymity, expressed fear that reprisal killings may stem from two recent deadly shooting attacks in the community.
“What is happening in Wakefield is something that we would not even dream of years ago. We hope the police don't only walk through but have regular patrols in the area,” she added.