Not Welcome

Supt Ricketts urges migrant criminals not to seek refuge in Trelawny

Observer West reporter

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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DUNCANS, Trelawny — Recently-assigned commander for the Trelawny Police Division, Superintendent Kirk Ricketts, has warned criminals who intend to flee the state of puplic emergency (SOE) dragnet in the three western parishes and seek refuge in Trelawny, that they will not be welcome in the parish.

On Tuesday, April 30 Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced SOEs for Westmoreland, Hanover and St James in light of an upsurge of crime and violence in those parishes.

“I have a warning for those violence producers in the parishes to our west: don't think you can flee the dragnet of the state of public emergency and come into our parish. We won't tolerate you here. In fact, the legislation doesn't necessarily stop at the border, because if you were one of the persons who are breaching the peace in that space and we find you over here, we are going to carry you back over there,” Superintendent Ricketts declared at a meet and greet meeting with members of the Duncans community last week.

The senior cop, who has served 22 of his 25 years of service in the force in the intelligence area, noted that the police will not let down their guard in light of statistics that Trelawny is the fourth safest parish, behind St Thomas, St Elizabeth and Portland.

In fact, he pointed out that Hanover was once regarded as a safe parish.

“We have to realise that there are similar examples. Hanover is having a problem now, Hanover was once a sleepy, rural parish. Hanover has been impacted by the very same things, a known effect from a more volatile parish like St James, as also a pull for job opportunities with the construction industry. So our job is to ensure that Trelawny does not go the way of these other divisions. We have to be proactive,” the head honcho of the Trelawny police stressed.

He highlighted that police intelligence shows that players in the lottery scam in St James have made their way, in some cases, into gated communities in the parish.

“We believe that over the years there has been migration of criminal elements from a number of parishes into our peaceful parish, particularly from St James. St James would have been hit hard by the impact of lotto scamming activities. That would have resulted in an increased emphasis by law enforcement on the actors in this scheme. As a result, we believe and we have evidence to show, that a number of these criminal suspects have left the space and have entered into our space here in Trelawny. Some of them have found their way into our gated communities. Some of them have gone into the more sleepy districts because they believe that just as some of us believe, this is a pretty sleepy space,” he argued.

He expressed fear that criminal elements could be among the influx of construction workers into the parish as a result of the boom in the building of hotels and housing schemes.

“We have also seen that the town of Falmouth is one of the fastest developing towns in the country. We have a booming hotel construction situation going on as a number of hotel rooms are under construction. We would see a migratory element from various parishes, particularly low skilled workers coming into the space from as far away as Clarendon, St Catherine, Kingston, seeking job opportunities,” Superintendent Ricketts remarked.

“Now these individuals also, might be coming with baggage. Some of these individuals might be undesirable; some of them might be wanted for various crimes and will use the opportunity of jobs being offered on the northern side of the country to move from the area that they are being monitored by the police or being sought by the police. They will come into our space here.”

In recent years, hundreds of hotel rooms

have been constructed in the parish, and plans have been announced for scores of others to be constructed in the near future.

Superintendent Ricketts appealed to the community members to partner with the police and be on the look-out for migrating criminals and to report suspicious looking strangers to the police.

“We want you to help us as community, as partners to work with us and identify anybody who thinks that we are sleeping and we are not vigilant,” he urged.

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