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  • Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, says the security operations being carried out under the State of Public Emergency in St. James, though in its very early stages, are going very well.
  • In a Statement, the Minister further noted that the security forces have advised that 83 of the 197 persons detained are strongly believed to be connected to gangs in St. James.
  • “We asked for and are getting unprecedented support from the public. We ask that members of the public continue to flood us with information. Tell us where the guns are. Tell us where the gunmen, lotto scammers and criminals are,” Mr. Montague implored.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, says the security operations being carried out under the State of Public Emergency in St. James, though in its very early stages, are going very well.

“So far, the state of emergency has resulted in the detention of 197 persons and the seizure of four firearms and approximately 300 rounds of ammunition. Among the 197 persons detained are 10 men wanted for serious crimes, including murder and shooting,” he told the House of Representatives on Tuesday (January 23).

In a Statement, the Minister further noted that the security forces have advised that 83 of the 197 persons detained are strongly believed to be connected to gangs in St. James.

He also informed that there are currently 178 persons in custody, and that some of these persons are the subject of further investigations.

“We asked for and are getting unprecedented support from the public. We ask that members of the public continue to flood us with information. Tell us where the guns are. Tell us where the gunmen, lotto scammers and criminals are,” Mr. Montague implored.

The Minister noted that the declaration of a State of Public Emergency is not a panacea.

“It is not a cure-all to our problems. It is meant to cauterise the situation while providing the space for other sustainable interventions. Let me remind this Honourable House that it took us decades to get here, and it will not be addressed overnight,” Mr. Montague said.

He emphasised that in addition to the efforts of the security forces, it will require significant inputs from all facets of society to sustainably address the problem.

“There is a significant level of consensus that sustainable crime reduction will require fundamental changes along with significant investments in our social and educational systems. As a Government, we are committed to providing these inputs over time,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Minister said with the possibility of criminal elements attempting to flee St. James to neighbouring parishes, a number of operations are being conducted across the island in support of the state of emergency.

These operations, he said, are in an effort to apprehend wanted men who may have eluded the main area of operation.

To this end, divisions within Area Five conducted a 24-hour blitz, which saw increased visibility and intensified operational activities to include vehicle checkpoints, raids, searches and visits to persons on curfew orders.

Eighteen persons were detained in St. Catherine North and one in St. Catherine South. Operations have also been launched in St. Ann, St. Mary and Westmoreland.

“Portmore, St. Catherine, has been identified as a likely area where displaced criminals are likely to be housed. As such, a joint team from Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime (CTOC) Investigation Branch, the Fugitive Apprehension Team (FAT) and Mobile Reserve conducted targeted raids on several premises. No one was apprehended,” Mr. Montague said.

In addition, the Mobile Reserve and the St. Andrew Central Police picked up two persons of interest in the August Town area this morning (January 23), in relation to a shooting in the community last night.

“Continued operations by CTOC and the FAT resulted in the apprehension of two men wanted in the United States. Mr. Davy Scott, 48 years old, who is wanted in New Jersey for assault against police and several assault offences, was held in Portmore, St. Catherine,” Mr. Montague said.

Also, Mr. Peter Marley, 51 years old, who is wanted in Florida for multiple sexual offences involving minors, was held in Cherry Gardens. Both will be extradited to the United States.