The police high command is putting together a number of strategies to deal with what it has described as a developing trend where criminals for hire are carrying out a number of murders across the island.
Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, said the leadership of the security forces is aware of the increase in contract killings on the island.
The minister did not go into details about the figures but said, “It is a relatively new phenomenon in terms of its use.”
He made the statement while speaking at a press briefing after he visited the grieving families of three-year-old Kamoill Williams Jr and 27-year-old Tavares Stevens in Cascade, Hanover.
Both were killed in Hilloughby district, Cascade, on April 20. The shooting also left another person injured.
“The entire leadership of the security forces recognise the problem and will be looking at how we can develop different tactical approaches and the intelligence to deal with what is a very serious disease,” the minister said.
“This kind of brutal killing has become too frequent, especially in the last six months or so, where [gunmen in] vehicles tend to drive by an event or a shop and just shoot up whoever is there,” he said.
Dr Chang noted that the killings are being done by persons who are not from the area in which they take place.
“They [gunmen] tend to shoot at random, at a public space, at events, and even though they might kill the one they came for, several other people are injured,” he pointed out.
The Minister said that the increase in contract killings presents a challenge for members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
“It requires a level of intensity of information that we don’t have at this point. It is an area where the Police High Command can look at how they can redeploy their resources and develop areas of intelligence to begin with and to anticipate some of these activities,” Dr Chang added.
The Minister was accompanied on the visit by Head of the Area One Police, Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifford Chambers, and Member of Parliament for Hanover Eastern, Dave Brown.