JAMAICA – Community scared
KINGSTON –– A year ago it would have been preposterous to even consider that this normally quiet, peaceful seaside community would be the No. 1 hot spot on the Trelawny Police Division’s radar.
But the frequent onslaught by gunmen, which has left six people dead in recent weeks, has forced commander of the Trelawny Police Division, Superintendent Clive Blair, to place the spotlight on the community located on the periphery of Falmouth, Trelawny’s capital.
“This community is the No. 1 community that is of concern to me as the commanding officer. When I look at the parish and make a general assessment of the other communities that are termed as hot spots, this is the No. 1. Sad to say, but with the recent happenings in your community, it has dawned on me to put more attention here, because we don’t want it to get out of hand. We want to nip it in the bud as early as possible,” Superintendent Blair disclosed during a meeting with members of the community at the Salt Marsh All-Age School last week, which was convened to address the recent spate of murders.
The most recent homicide was reported just over a week ago in a section of the community called “Wharf’”, where 20-year-old Michael Brown, who was also called “Chris” of a Anchovy, St James address, was gunned down by unknown assailants.
His death came sharply on the heels of that of Rasheem Fearon, 25, also called “Shema”, who was killed by gunmen in a section of the community called “Common”, as she was returning from a night football game.
Fearon was killed even as the community was still mourning the murder of 57-year-old construction worker Lenroy Plummer, who was also peppered with bullets by an assassin in “Common”.
The community earlier mourned the death of 54-year-old Wesley Reid, whose partially decomposed corpse was discovered in bushes, where he fled for refuge, three days after he was chased by gunmen.
Also murdered in Salt Marsh over the past two months were Jermaine Clarke, otherwise called “Bigga” of a Flanker address in St James, and 31-year-old mason Zedekiah Mendez of Kitson Town, St Catherine.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Jamaica Observer West on terms of anonymity earlier this week, a relative of Plummer revealed that the death of the construction worker had plunged the family into mourning.
“We also fear for our lives because we don’t know what the real cause is for his death. So we are fearful as we don’t know who will be next,” Plummer’s kinsfolk lamented.
Another community member said the area was gripped by fear and tension.
“I can’t understand why all of a sudden these types of things are happening here. This is not the Salt Marsh that we use to. We don’t want our children to grow up in this kind of environment because it is not our culture,” bemoaned a senior community member.
Superintendent Blair, who, before he was transferred to Trelawny over a month ago, served tough police divisions such as St Andrew Central, St Catherine North, St Catherine South and the Mobile Reserve, blamed migrating criminals as one of the main factors responsible for the recent violent upsurge in Salt Marsh.
“The concern is that we have persons who are in the community –– some of these persons are not from your community, some of them are from outside of your community –– and these persons come into your community and settle inside your community and turning your community in a certain direction that is not conducive, not positive, but negative,” Superintendent Blair stressed.
Secondly, according the head honcho of the Trelawny Police Division, the lotto scam is another real worry for the traditionally peaceful community.
“What we have come to learn in Trelawny is that because of the constant operations, some of these lotto scammers have sought refuge in Trelawny and It’s not just Salt Marsh alone,” added Superintendent Blair.
Trelawny Northern Member of Parliament Patrick Atkinson, who was also in attendance at the community meeting, agreed with the senior cop
“. . . In fact, there are a number of crimes that have occurred in Trelawny which police intelligence indicate is connected to the lotto scam,” Atkinson, who is also the attorney general, said.
Both Atkinson and Superintendent Blair were also on the same page that the citizens should not cower in fear, but report what they know to the police.