ROSE HALL, St James – "If you want somewhere to hide out when you do your criminality, don't think of Rose Hall because you're not going to be safe here!" declared a militant councillor for the division, Anthony Murray (Jamaica Labour Party).
His comments came on the heels of three men, described as murderers, being shot dead during an alleged confrontation with a joint police/military team on Saturday.
"I want to let persons know there is no safe haven [for criminals] in the Rose Hall Division. I am going to say it as simple as possible, 'Keep out!'," he told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
Members of the community, Murray said, share his views and neither he nor they will stand by and allow criminals to take over the area.
"The residents will not tolerate it, I will not tolerate it as the councillor," he said.
During Saturday's dust-up one of the men killed was one of St James' most wanted, Nester "Zaddo" Gallimore. The other two men killed are siblings Jovaughn and Javan Henry. They have been labelled as Gallimore's "associates".
In a release on Saturday, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) said it had been engaged in a "relentless in pursuit of Nesta for the past couple weeks".
"Nesta and associates were shot and killed during a targeted operation aimed at apprehending him. The JDF remains committed to supporting the [Jamaica Constabulary Force] JCF in its efforts to target gangs and gunmen in order to rid Jamaica of crime that pose a threat to our national security efforts. The JDF thanks all citizens for the tips and information received that led to the capture of one of Jamaica's most wanted," the release said.
According to Murray, Saturday's incident was a setback in gains made in making the area — which has had its fair share of challenges over the years — a peaceful one.
"Prior to this incident and one in Mount Zion, we had no violence in the area. We were going zero murders [so far this year] and within the space of two months, we actually had eight murders in the division. That is cause for concern for me as the councillor. So I want to say to persons, we are not going to entertain [criminality] because we want a peaceful society," he reiterated.
He took time out to laud the security forces for their swift action in locating the three men.
"I want to thank the security forces for the work that they did, the intelligence work that they carried out in detecting and actually removing the threat. I want to commend them for that aspect of their work as well," the councillor stated.
"Sometimes I knock the police for some things but this time I have to commend them. Their intel was on the ball, their reaction time was good and the outcome — to me — was good," he added.