Violence still high in Greenwich Town despite ZOSO, says Brown Burke Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Greenwich Town Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in St Andrew is the only one of seven across the island that has shown an uptick in violence over the last six months.

The high violence was stated by the Member of Parliament for St Andrew South Western, Dr Angela Brown Burke, in whose constituency Greenwich Town falls, and acknowledged by National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang.

Both were speaking Tuesday in the House of Representatives, which approved the extension of the seven Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) across the island for another six months.

The other six ZOSOs are August Town, St Andrew; Parade Gardens in Central Kingston; Denham Town, West Kingston; Norwood, St James; Mount Salem, St James; and Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland.

Addressing Chang, Brown Burke said: “Minister, this is not a contentious matter. We have long been monitoring what is happening in the seven ZOSOs…I will repeat what I said the last time, Minister, that I do believe that violence in the Greenwich Town ZOSO is still far too high, really far too high.

“And I also, therefore, believe that something else has to happen, and something also has to take place in the Greenwich Town ZOSO,” she said.

Brown Burke shared that she has received calls about violent activities in the community as recently as in the past two weeks. She said whenever this happens, “it has the tendency to break the public’s confidence in the level of protection that they’re expecting from the ZOSO…”

Responding, Chang said, “I agree with you that Greenwich Farm (Town) in the last six months has seen small, in absolute numbers, but significant [increases in violence]”.

“In fact, it’s the only one that is showing an increase, the average decline [in violent crimes] is some 33 per cent [across the ZOSOs] but the highest is 88 per cent in the Central Kingston [Parade Gardens ZOSO],” Chang noted.

The security minister told the House that the Savanna-la-Mar ZOSO has seen a 68 per cent fall in crime, but lamented that the Denham Town ZOSO is “still below” where it should be.

Chang said citizen security remains at the heart of the crime initiative being implemented within the ZOSOs. He said the aim is to remove the vulnerabilities and weaknesses within these volatile spaces.

The minister said the ultimate goal is not to solely reduce the homicide rates in these zones but to renew increased public trust in the State, reduce victimisation, increase human capital development, especially among the youths, and create safe and peaceful environments.