Clarendon crime leads to ZOSO call
With more than 140 persons killed in Clarendon since the start of this year, some residents of the parish are urging Prime Minister Andrew Holness to establish the island's third zone of special operations (ZOSO) there.
But establishing a ZOSO in the parish may be easier said than done, according to Clifford Chambers, assistant commissioner of police and head of the Police Area Three, which covers Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth.
"Clarendon is expansive. It is very wide, and borders St Ann, St Catherine and other parishes. It is not a place like Kingston, where we can erect cordons and monitor the mobility in and out. The criminals are spread out," Chambers told The Gleaner.
"They are wide and far apart and the incidents are wide apart. They (criminals) understand the road network, and now with the highway, they have easier access in and out of the parish.
"It's not so much like St James that has a lot of individual districts with the violence compounded by the lottery scam. In Clarendon, the main issue is reprisals," added Chambers.
He said that it would take increased resources to attempt a lockdown of some warring areas in the parish, and resources are always scarce for the security forces.
According to Chambers, the police in the parish have been increasing their searches for guns and criminals, many of whom are known to law-enforcement officials.
He said last week that the cops seized at least five illegal guns and several rounds of ammunition during operations in the parish.
But with the recent killing of 55-year-old Clifton Scott and his two sons, 25-year-old Clifton Scott Jr and Orville Scott, 20, causing fresh concerns, several many residents are asking for more to be done.
Anneka Crossley, a resident of Palmer's Cross in the parish, said that a well-needed ZOSO declaration must be complemented by effective counselling for the youth in the parish.
"A few days ago, three were killed in Toll Gate. They shot up a family in Farm, and before that there was a six-year-old boy who was also killed there. And after that they killed a young man in Havannah Heights," listed Crossley, who was mourning the killing of a relative when she spoke with our news team.
"I heard about two guys who got shot down the road, one died, I don't know if the other one died; and I got to understand that it was outsiders who came in and did it. We don't just need the ZOSO, we need counsellors, we need help," added Crossley.
ZOSO pointless in parish, says Shagoury
Late last week, William Shagoury, custos rotulorum for Clarendon, agreed that the parish needs desperate help to fight the crime problem, but argued that a zone of special operations (ZOSO) would be next to pointless.
"You can almost drive the whole of south Clarendon without coming on the main road, through the cane piece intervals ... the parish is huge and we have one of highest amounts of undocumented communities, about 18 or 19 of them, and they make the parish very hard to police," said Shagoury.
"What I think they need to concentrate on are the ports," added Shagoury, as he argued that it is from these entry points that illegal guns are entering the parishes.