Cabbie killed in St Mary days after assurance about murder rate there | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Despite assurances from the Police High Command that the murder rate in St Mary will be reduced, there was another killing in the parish on Thursday night.

The incident occurred on the Golden Valley main road in Castleton, St Mary, where 31-year-old taxi operator, Kadon Nugent, was shot to death by unknown assailant(s).

The latest killing has increased the fears of some residents in the parish that has been traditionally known to have one of the lowest murder rates nationally, but could soon be booted from that enviable category.

In Thursday night’s incident, it was reported that residents heard loud explosions at about 8:30 pm, and alerted the police.

Some residents, however, went to investigate and later found Nugent slumped over his steering wheel with bullet wounds.

He was subsequently pronounced dead at hospital.

In reacting to the murder, residents for the most part, lamented that St Mary was once a peaceful parish and that label is fast disappearing.

“It was such a quiet place,” said a resident in an interview.

“St Mary never used to be this way man. You hardly hear about murder,” observed another resident.

Nugent’s killing brought the murder tally in the parish since the start of the year to 17 cases.

Speaking at a police press conference last Tuesday, Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, said the situation in St Mary as “alarming to us”.

At time he spoke, the parish had seen a 700 per cent increase in murders since the start of the year. Up to Tuesday, there were 16 murders committed there, which compared to two for the corresponding period last year.

However, Anderson expressed confidence that the murder situation in the parish would be brought under control soon, as additional police “assets” had been sent there.

“We recently sent additional assets to St Mary to assist them to address that problem. We met with the St Mary team two weeks ago to look at their issues. So, I expect that St Mary will also start to come back into line,” he assured.

According to Anderson, the majority of the homicides that have been committed in the north eastern parish so far this year were conflict-related and not gang-related, as have been observed in other police divisions.

“They (conflicts) start and then become a tit-for-tat. Some of them are related to one family and then that plays out in a number of murders,” he stated.

He said, too, that St Mary’s murder tally was still very low in comparison to other police divisions, especially in western Jamaica, which continues to be a worry for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

There is comfort in the fact that serious crimes in St Mary continue to trend downwards, as disclosed head of the St Mary police, Superintendent Bobette Morgan-Simpson, recently.

Of the 35 cases of violent crimes this year, 28 were resolved, moving the cleared-up rate to 80 per cent, she said.