Working Group to Sustain Peace in St. Catherine North Police Division

Photo: Donald De La Haye Deputy Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake, addresses a meeting of stakeholders organised by the joint security forces to devise a plan to maintain peace in the St. Catherine North Division at the end of the State of Public Emergency. The meeting took place on Thursday (April 12) at the Church of God of Prophecy Convention Centre on Old Harbour Road in the parish.

Story Highlights

  • A stakeholder working group has been formed in the St. Catherine North Police Division in an effort to sustain the positive results of the State of Public Emergency (SOPE) in the area.
  • The meeting, which took place at the Church of God of Prophecy Convention Centre on Old Harbour Road on Thursday evening (April 12), was held to facilitate discussion and collaboration among the various interests within the division on a plan to maintain the gains once the SOPE ends.
  • Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Clifford Blake, who was the main presenter, implored persons to participate in the discussions with solutions in mind to improve the division’s outlook. He noted that while the gains of the SOPE were good, the security operations could not and would not last forever.

A stakeholder working group has been formed in the St. Catherine North Police Division in an effort to sustain the positive results of the State of Public Emergency (SOPE) in the area.

The group, comprising members of the security forces, political representatives, business leaders, community leaders and the church, was formed at a meeting of stakeholders organised by the joint security forces with responsibility for the SOPE.

The meeting, which took place at the Church of God of Prophecy Convention Centre on Old Harbour Road on Thursday evening (April 12), was held to facilitate discussion and collaboration among the various interests within the division on a plan to maintain the gains once the SOPE ends.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Clifford Blake, who was the main presenter, implored persons to participate in the discussions with solutions in mind to improve the division’s outlook. He noted that while the gains of the SOPE were good, the security operations could not and would not last forever.

He reiterated that sustainable peace needed to be maintained and that the next two months were critical in arriving at solutions to achieve this. “We want to leave here this afternoon with a working group and a resolve that the security forces, politicians, members of the business community and all of us combined are going to work together to sustain peace, not only in St. Catherine North but in Jamaica,” he said.

“While the security forces take the lead to sustain and keep the peace, building the peace is everyone’s responsibility,” DCP Blake noted further.

He said he was pleased with the afternoon’s turnout and indicated that there were sufficient persons present “to start a good thing”.

For his part, Commanding Officer of the St. Catherine North Division, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Beau Rigabie, welcomed the group and expressed confidence that it would arrive at some workable ideas on how to sustain the positive results that have, so far, been achieved.

“The concept that I would want them to embrace is to look calculatedly at the nuances that affect the division. We would also want them to look at whatever measures they think can create the avenue for change,” he said.

SSP Rigabie pointed out that much of the gang-related crime in the division is driven by extortion and that when that source of revenue is removed, it would leave a void that needs to be filled with legal sources of income.

“I want them to look also at the various agencies that can come in and give alternatives to these persons, because whilst we remove one avenue of revenue, there will be the need to replace it. So, I am hoping that this committee will be looking towards the various alternatives to the revenue that they normally have,” he said. The SOPE in the St. Catherine North Division began on March 18 for an initial two weeks. It has since been extended to July.

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