KINGSTON – As crime continues to wreak havoc in Montego Bay, St James, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) is the latest private sector organization to call on the Government to present a more comprehensive strategy aimed at combating crime in the Second City.
Last night, at approximately 7:30 p.m., notorious gangster Omar ‘King Evil’ Lewis was shot dead in his car in Catherine Hall. Lewis, who was incarcerated in the United States, was deported to Jamaica three months ago. He returned to Montego Bay two weeks ago.
Earlier in the day, a taxi driver was killed at the William Street Taxi Stand in downtown Montego Bay.
This brings to 21 the number of persons killed in the last 10 days in the tourist capital – an average of two murders per day. Since Sunday, seven murders have been committed.
The JHTA’s urging comes two days after similar sentiments were expressed by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The wanton killing of persons in Montego Bay remains a serious concern for the JHTA,” said a statement from the association’s president, Omar Robinson, who noted that although the zones of special operations (ZOSOs) may have reaped some success, that alone cannot be the answer as more resources need to be deployed to fight crime in other areas.
Mount Salem has been a ZOSO since September 1.
The JHTA president said that the level
of crime in the Mt Salem area has been reduced, however, the rest of the parish of St James continues to experience an increase in murders.
“We need to have a more comprehensive crime-fighting strategy while addressing the social causes of crime and violence. The authorities need to get a grip on the issue and restore law and order in the city,” said Robinson.
He also stated his dissatisfaction with the transfer of the commanding officer for St James, Marlon Nesbeth, whose tour of duty ends next month.
In the last four years, the parish of St James has had three senior superintendents, none of them staying more than a year and six months.
“This cannot be the answer as we have seen this practice happen too frequently in the past, with the same results. It, therefore, reaffirms that there are inherent issues that are not being addressed outside of the leadership of the force,” Robinson argued.
“It is time for more serious action, and as citizens, we deserve to live in a safer environment. The law-abiding citizens need to feel safe. They need to be able to go into and out of their communities without any fear.”
Robinson’s comments have been bolstered by the Chamber of Commerce, which says that it is strongly encouraging the immediate utilizationof modern technology initiatives that can greatly assist in identifying the perpetrators without reliance on eyewitnesses.