'It's a war we will win', Chang tells gangsters as ZOSO is declared for WestmorelandSunday, January 16, 2022
WESTMORELAND, Jamaica — National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang says the displacement that will be caused by the latest Zone of Special Operation [ZOSO] that was declared for sections of Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland on Sunday, will send criminals “scurrying like rats from their holes”.
He has also promised that the war against criminality, in particular violent gang warfare that leads to murders, is a war the Government will win.
Chang made the comments Sunday morning at a Jamaica House media briefing where he appeared with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the country’s security chiefs for the announcement of a ZOSO for sections of Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
The under-pressure security minister noted that statistics to date indicate that homicides are moving ahead of 2021 figures with three parishes and four divisions accounting for the majority of the increase — Westmoreland, St James and St Catherine North and South. Chang also noted that Westmoreland, which recorded 128 murders last year, had the highest percentage increase in homicides in 2021 when compared with 2020.
“They’ve shown in this area, an increased propensity for severe violence designed to kill, maim and inspire fear,” he stated. The minister sought to assure that the Jamaica Constabulary Force [JCF] was taking decisive action to not only curb this rise in crime but to also restore public safety. He said curfews, cordons and searches, additional officers deployed to the geographic division and specialised units to apprehend perpetrators have been sent to Westmoreland.
“There has been some success but more will be done,” he promised.
Chang said Sunday’s declaration of a ZOSO is yet another tool to focus on the most violent district in the urban centre of Westmoreland.
“It will not only restore order in the limited geographic area, it’s designed to disrupt, to some extent, the gangs that operate in the area.”
He added that “dispersion [of the gangsters] is not necessarily welcome but dispersing them from the areas in the clear phase of the ZOSO will have them like rats scurrying from their holes [where] they’re easier to identify and apprehend”.
The security minister assured that the officers of the JCF and the Jamaica Defence Force [JDF] are on alert.
“The JCF, supported by the JDF, with the support of the entire government is moving aggressively to attack the criminal elements on all fronts. We will examine what other law enforcement tools can be brought to bear on this issue in the area of ZOSOs,” said Chang.
He told the media briefing that the government recognises that it is in a war with heartless and violent criminal but will not relent.
“It’s a war we will win,” he declared.