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Brazen double murder

MONTEGO BAY, St James — A tense calm blanketed the tough Rose Heights community in St James last night, following the killing of two residents by armed invaders.

Three others were also shot and injured during the morning invasion.

The deceased have been identified as Duwayne Stennett and Shane Williams.

Reports are that about 8:30 am yesterday, three masked men pounced upon a number of individuals on premises in the Rocky View section of Rose Heights, and peppered them with bullets.

After the shooting died down, five people had multiple gunshot wounds and were taken to hospital where Stennett and Williams were pronounced dead. The others were admitted in serious condition.

The killing reportedly took place inside the lane in full view of early morning commuters, including students, who gathered at “Ackee Tree” awaiting transportation to their various destinations.

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, who yesterday toured the Freeport Police Station along with Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson and members of the Area One Police hierarchy, condemned the incident.

Dr Chang said that the attack was just another example of the re-emergence of killing since the expiration of the state of public emergency in St James at the start of the year.

“It is part of the pattern. You see it re-emerging in the area and all of these killings, we recognise, are retaliation, and we recognise it is symptomatic of what violence brings. Violence is like a disease and it is like an infectious disease,” the security minister said.

He articulated the need for an enhanced security measure to address the kind of violence in St James, which he stated “cannot be controlled by just normal activity”.

“We are examining the legislation. I hope we can bring it to Parliament shortly, which is something which will give us some of the elements of the state of emergency and we hope that will come to give the policemen and women, who are working hard, assisted by the Jamaica Defence Force, [what they need] to overcome some of the activities out here. We are looking at the situation.

“We are concerned and we will take steps to correct the problem. But it is not the kind of thing you have a knee-jerk reaction to; not only [has] the crime gone beyond that, [but] so, too, has policing,” Dr Chang said.

Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Montego Bay South East Division Authur Lynch, who also condemned the gun attack, expressed fear that there could be a return of violence to the community which has remained peaceful in recent years.

“Rose Heights, which had been a troubled community, returned to a level of normalcy over the past few years and I would not want to see it return to a place where residents are once again under siege. This is a community in which I live, work and play and I will do all I can to maintain the peace and unity that we have grown accustomed to,” Lynch said.

For head of the Rose Heights Covenant of Peace Pastor Knollis King, who is the former councillor for Montego Bay South East Division, of which Farm Heights is a part, the community has been exploited by politicians, the Church and businessmen over the years.

“Rose Heights is like sheep without shepherd; everybody just exploit the area. Mi vex! They only regard the place for bad things. Business people only remember the area when they want to underpay, politicians only remember when they want votes, and churches only remember the area when they looking for members,” Pastor King bemoaned.

“I wish I had wings like a dove to just fly away. We don’t get no help. No help from PMI (Peace Management Initiative), no help from CSJP (Citizen Security and Justice Programme); they only come and talk and gone,” Pastor King said.

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