MONTEGO BAY — Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday announced two major rewards programmes for the arrest of wanted men and the recovery of illegal guns and ammunition following a tour of Mount Salem — the community first declared a zone of special operations (ZOSO).
Speaking at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister West in Montego Bay, Holness said the Government will be providing a $100-million fund for information leading to recovery of guns and ammunition.
“The rewards will be administered by Crime Stop and are not limited to information about firearms in a ZOSO,” the prime minister stressed.
He told journalists that people who call Crime Stop on 311 and give credible information about the location of guns and ammunition islandwide can benefit from the reward programme.
“We are encouraging the people of Jamaica to fight against crime by giving information,” the prime minister emphasized.
“The amount of the reward paid will vary, depending on the types of guns and amount of ammunition recovered from the information provided,” he explained.
According to Holness, information leading to the recovery of rifles/submachine will be $150,000; semi-automatic pistols and shot guns $100,000; revolvers $75,000, while explosives and ammunition are negotiable.
“The Crime Stop system will be responsible for the payment of the rewards,” he said.
The other crime-fighting initiative, Holness said, is the Fugitive Apprehension Fund.
Under that fund, the Government will be providing $20 million for information leading to the arrest of the country’s 20 most wanted criminals.
The list of wanted men, he said, will be published by the security forces in “short order”, adding that Crime Stop will manage the fund and pay out the rewards in accordance with their standard protocols.
Meanwhile, Holness announced that the Government has declared a moratorium on establishing possession where an illegal firearm is discovered on a premises in a ZOSO.
This, he stressed, will last for five days, starting yesterday.
He pointed out, however, that the moratorium will not apply to firearms or ammunition found on a person.
“The moratorium will not give immunity to the documented owner/occupier of a premises if the illegal gun yields evidence that connects the owner/occupier of the premises to other crime,” he emphasized.
Earlier, the prime minister, accompanied by National Security Minister Robert Montague, Attorney General and Member of Parliament for St James North Western Marlene Malahoo Forte, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr Horace Chang, and senior members of the joint forces visited several communities in the Mount Salem area.
He said the visit was very useful as it gave the National Security Council a chance to see how the operation was working and to get a feedback from citizens.
He said, although there were some concerns from the residents, most of them were satisfied with the operation.
And, during the tour of Piggott Street and Crawford Street in Mount Salem, the prime minister told the residents that the operation was about facilitating and empowering them.
“We will be helping as much as we can, because it is not just about a police/military operation. I am here to get a better understand to see the services that you need in terms of sanitation, road repairs, gully cleaning, water, and so on, so at the end of this process your community will be in a better place,” he remarked.