Westmoreland police lament increasing number of juveniles involved in major crimesThursday, April 29, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — The top brass of the Westmoreland Police Division are expressing alarm over the high percentage of juveniles involved in murders and other major crimes in the parish.
This was forcefully brought to the fore in the wake of the recent apprehension of four juveniles in connection with the recent killing of 48-year-old car wash operator Cosmond Looney.
His killing is strongly believed to have been in revenge for the earlier gun slaying of Andrew Campbell, affectionately called Kid, at an illegal offshore party.
Looney was gunned down at his business place in Egypt Gardens, Big Bridge, by one of two individuals travelling on a motorcycle about 11:20 am on Sunday, April 18.
The police, who seized the motorcycle which transported the killers, revealed that it was stolen from a man who was shot in his back in the parish a day earlier.
“In respect of the reprisal at the car wash operator, four are in custody – all juveniles. One of them was actually wanted for shooting. Follow-up operations led us to recovering illegal rounds at his house. Now this brings into sharp focus the general breakdown in our social fabric and our social agencies,” bemoaned Superintendent Robert Gordon, commander of the Westmoreland Police Division.
“When you have a little young boy coming out of a home who can be involved in so much things, it tells you that guidance at home has broken down significantly.”
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Adrian Hamilton, who heads operations in the parish, expressed similar sentiments.
“It is particularly concerning, the continued involvement of at-risk youth in the commission of major crimes throughout the parish. I am talking about juveniles in need of care and protection left on their own by various circumstances but primarily through bad parenting, absence of a positive support system, unloved and unprotected. They are mere pawns to the criminal gangs based in their communities. With no respect or value for sanctity of life and access to illegal firearms, they become toxic murderers preying on the citizens of the parish,” ASP Hamilton charged.
Superintendent Gordon expressed that the police in Westmoreland are engaging with partners such as the Child Protection and Family Services Agency “to assist us in this regard”.
The Jamaica Observer West has been informed that in their probe into the shooting of Looney and Campbell, the police took 12 individuals into custody, seized two firearms and 13 rounds of ammunition, as well as the seizure of two motorcycles, one of them at the home of one of the four juveniles.
Campbell was shot and killed during an illegal party on a cay close to Egypt Gardens, Big Bridge, Westmoreland, on Saturday, April 17.
Police said that Campbell was killed about 8:30pm during his attempt to quell a fight between two patrons at the party.
“I heard it is very choppy seas between mainland and that particular island, very choppy seas. So there is a high level of risk in multiple ways and we ended up with a shooting over there and what that is saying is when you start off with something being illegal, it is highly likely that you might have a domino effect of other illegal activities to include loss of life, because when the police give somebody permission to keep something the police is actually indicating as well that we are capable of policing your event to keep you and your patrons safe,” Superintendent Gordon explained.
He argued that as a result of the police's vigilance, party organisers are now moving offshore to stage these illegal parties.
“...That [police vigilance] is why you have incidents like those that happen on those little islands off the shoreline. So that stands to speak to the vigilance of the police in treating with those that are kept on land. And mind you, there are those that might happen without our knowledge because despite our best efforts people are finding ways to circumvent the law to have their own selfish ways,” said Superintendent Gordon.
He noted that the coastline is so porous that the illegal partygoers can approach it from any end, thus making it very challenging to police the cay.
“You cannot look at a point and say, okay, if we maintain a certain on-the-road presence we will prevent them from getting there, because they can approach it from anywhere they can purchase petrol from. So it poses a serious challenge as it relates to enforcement, and great risk to the people who venture out in those treacherous waters,” he stated.
The Westmoreland police divisional commander, meanwhile, lauded the majority of residents in the parish for “conforming to the Disaster Risk Management Act, Night Abatement and other Acts”.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login