Commissioner of Police, Lucius Thomas, has assured Jamaicans living in Canada that the police are committed to winning the war on crime. Addressing more than 300 Jamaicans at the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) Centre in Toronto, Canada, on January 20, Commissioner Thomas said that despite the high number of homicides in 2005, the police force did record a number of positives.
“How many of you know that there was a four per cent reduction in total major crimes?” he asked. “We recovered 692 illegal firearms, well above the number recovered in 2004; we were successful in dismantling some of the major gangs and we significantly disrupted others, mainly through the efforts of Operation Kingfish,” he added.
The Commissioner pointed out that 70 per cent of the crimes were being committed by young people who “kill, maim, rob and hurt each other for the simplest of reasons”, adding that over 70 per cent of the same age group were also the victims of these crimes. Some of the factors contributing to crime, Commissioner Thomas noted, were the ‘don’ culture, the number of informal communities with zinc fences and no road network, criminal deportees, Jamaica’s position as a major transshipment port for cocaine, and the increase in gun trafficking from the United States, Central America and now Haiti, which he described as disturbing.Noting that guns were very expensive, he pointed out that it was not poor people who were purchasing guns and ammunition, but rather “men of influence”, who were now being identified by the Police and would be targeted.
The Commissioner told the gathering that the police force was cleaning up its house and so far had removed approximately 60 corrupt police personnel. “While the majority of our officers are clean, honest and hardworking, corruption in the organization will prevent us from tackling organized crime and prevent us from being successful,” he said.
Highlighting some of the initiatives the police would be employing in the near future, the top cop said they intended to enhance the investigative capacity of the force and the clear-up rate, noting that “the man who kills today and nothing happens is likely to kill tomorrow”.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada, His Excellency Carl Marshall, noted that the police force by itself, could not solve crime, but needed the support of all citizens. The Commissioner’s five-day visit was facilitated by the Jamaican Diaspora-Canada Foundation (JDCF). President, Philip Mascoll said the group would be bringing more Jamaican officials to Canada, “to re-connect with Jamaicans in the diaspora as we all work together for the betterment of Jamaica”.
While in Canada, Commissioner Thomas, who was accompanied by Superintendent Lorna Wilson-Morgan and Detective Superintendent Donovan Graham, also addressed the Jamaica Foundation of Hamilton and the congregation of the Revivaltime Tabernacle, and paid courtesy calls on Toronto’s Chief of Police, Bill Blair and Hamilton’s Chief of Police, Brian Mullan.