Malahoo Forte warns violence producers in Mt Salem that they will be brought to justiceThursday, June 10, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James - Member of Parliament (MP) for St James West Central Marlene Malahoo Forte is warning the perpetrators behind the recent deadly shootings in Mount Salem that the law will catch up with them.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness had declared the first zone of special operations (ZOSO) in sections of Mount Salem in 2017, which successfully stemmed violence in the community.
But, recently, reports of violence have been reported in the area, including last month's shooting death of 23-year-old Sadaine Legister as he disposed of garbage at his Crawford Street home, and the firefight which resulted between members of the Jamaica Defence Force and men who shot and killed a man on Campbell Lane.
“I am not going to sit back as Member of Parliament and allow people to be slaughtered left, right, and centre. So, here is my appeal to those of you, you know who you are, I beg unno stop it! Let it not be said afterwards, when the State must act to protect innocent lives and to bring order and peace and calm to an area, and Mount Salem in particular, that others are crying out. I beg unno put it down. We have achieved a lot in the ZOSO; I have seen the difference; now is not the time,” implored the MP, who is also the attorney general.
She added: “Let me just say to those persons who are operating on the wrong side of the law and are killing each other, whatever your dispute is, it is not worth it. The arm of the law is long and you will be brought to justice.”
Since the 2017 declaration of the ZOSO, the Mount Salem community has not only seen a significant decline in murders, but has also achieved a raft of social improvements in the wake of the security measure.
Extensive work has been done in the area of waste management; a zinc fence removal project was initiated, which saw zinc fences removed and replaced with reinforced concrete walls; roads have been rehabilitated; scores of households have had their accounts regularised by the National Water Commission (NWC); a police station has been built; school and community centre refurbished, among other benefits.
The attorney general rued that the recent killings have undermined the success of the ZOSO.
“We all know that the guns are wreaking havoc in the society, and that after so much work has been put in stabilising Mount Salem under the zones of special operation, that persons that mean no good have taken up back the gun and we are hearing of many reports of shootings,” she argued.
“The ZOSO was not intended to be a permanent feature. A lot of work has been done. Many of you will recall when it was coming how persons were politicising it and decrying it and now that it has been here and they have seen the benefits and we are getting to the stage where we are wrapping up, then, things are flaring up.”
She appealed to residents not to provide any sanctuary for criminals.
“...And, I am appealing to citizens. I think people know who these people are, don't wait until it falls in your home,” Malahoo Forte urged.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login