Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, says charges are likely to be laid against at least 30 of 80 persons being detained by the security forces in connection with the recent unrest in West Kingston.
Speaking at the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) Chairman’s Club Forum at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Thursday, Mr. Ellington said that the joint police/military incursions carried out by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) in West Kingston have yielded some 87 illegal guns and over 14,000 rounds of ammunition since May 24.
He pointed out that the security forces have done a number of things in terms of advancing their investigations, including detaining a number of individuals, who were held for questioning, profiled and subsequently released. There are individuals who may very likely be rearrested and charged, as the investigations progress, he added.
Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington (right), listens to a point from Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) President, Joseph M. Matalon, during the PSOJ Chairman’s Club Forum at the Hilton Kingston on Thursday (June 24).Commissioner Ellington spoke on the security force’s latest crime fighting initiatives.
“This is certainly the largest case that we have ever dealt with, in terms of operations, investigations and all of those things.So it’s going to take time,” Mr. Ellington conceded.
JDF Colonel, Rocky Meade, who made a visual presentation on the security forces’ incursions at the forum, said that the 87 firearms recovered included 45 rifles/shotguns and 42 handguns. They ranged from sub-machine guns and the Chinese version of the AK47, “the weapon of choice’ by criminal elements in the area, to the .22 pistol.
Describing the AK47 as “highly potent”, Colonel Meade said the weapon has a target range of over 300 metres.
Colonel Meade said the ammunition included a wide assortment such as 7.62, and 5.56 rounds for rifles, to 9mm rounds which can be used in handguns and submachine guns.
In addition to guns and ammunition, Colonel Meade said the security forces also recovered 19 grenades, 32 improvised explosive devices (IED) and 34 “other forms of explosives”.
He said that the discovery of IEDs in Jamaica was of great significance and concern to the security forces.
Colonel Meade stated that consequent on the operations in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town, the security forces have embarked on similar undertakings in other parts of West Kingston, as well as Central and East Kingston. Additionally, operations have been conducted in Spanish Town, St Catherine, to which the State of Public Emergency has been expanded by the Government.
He also advised that, while not falling under the provisions of the state of emergency, routine patrols have been conducted in sections of St. James based on the level of crime and violence in that area.
Addressing the matter of stemming the flow of guns and ammunition into Jamaica, Commissioner Ellington described this is an “ongoing effort” which entails, among other things, collaboration with international partners.
“We have a unit within the National Intelligence Bureau, which has a primary focus on tracking the supply chain for guns and bullets coming through Jamaica. They have done a considerable amount of work and we have shared our intelligence packages with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms in the USA,” he explained.
He said that the security forces were also sharing particulars of all the guns recovered with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“They are proceeding to build cases for arresting more persons for trafficking in arms to Jamaica. It’s likely that we will get arrests in the USA…(and) it’s likely that more persons may be asked to come to the USA and face trial for importation of guns. So we are working on all those matters,” Commissioner Ellington assured.
JDF Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Stewart Saunders, recommitted the military’s support of the JCF’s efforts at curbing crime.