MP’s life threatened

Desmond McKenzie
Desmond McKenzie

KINGSTON – Criminals locked in a bloody war in sections of West Kingston have threatened the life of Member of Parliament Desmond McKenzie, forcing the police to carry out risk assessment in the area.

McKenzie said yesterday that the criminals have issued more than 30 threats over the past week alone, stating that he had been marked for death.

“I have received more than 30 threats (in text and oral messages)… and I have given all that information to the police,” he disclosed.

The police have since confirmed the threats.

According to McKenzie, the criminals have taken issue with his utterances and actions following the August 1 shooting death of 11-year-old Tassanique James and the injury of two women by gunmen on Bread Lane in the area. The shootings were the latest in a series of deadly attacks in the constituency

After the killing, McKenzie offered a $300,000 reward for information on the gunmen and called on the police to increase their presence in the area. He also said that the constituency organisation had agreed to foot the bill of the child’s funeral. He is to meet with the family today.

The tough-talking MP said that, despite the threats, he was not daunted.

“I am not going to change anything that I do; not going to change anything. And I am not afraid and I challenge any one of them to confront me; I challenge them, I dare them,” McKenzie said, noting that he will not rest until criminal activity in his constituency is brought to a “manageable level”.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the police disclosed that they had apprehended four of five men believed to be behind the series of deadly attacks.

Detectives said two of the men, who were previously listed as persons of interest, were held in recent operations, while the other two turned themselves in to the authorities.

The remaining person, who is on the Police Most Wanted List, remains on the run.

“He is Ryan Bembridge…, wanted for two counts of murder and shooting with intent,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Percival Anderson, the crime officer for the West Kingston Police Division, said yesterday.

Police said, in recent times, members from the Scare Dem and Strikers gangs have been locked in a deadly battle for leadership in the area. But they said that they have since brought the situation under control.

However yesterday McKenzie reported otherwise. According to the MP, between Monday and yesterday the body of a man was found in the area and there had been several reports of attacks and shootings.

He said police should further intensify their investigation and presence in West Kingston to ensure that suspects are held and charged and not just questioned and released. (Observer)

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