The Gleaner, North America Jan 05, 2022 - Feb 04, 2023

THE MONTHLY GLEANER | JANUARY 5 - FEBRUARY 4, 2023 | | NEWS 3 Kimone Francis/ Senior Staff Reporter UNITED STATES law enforcement now has on its radar key US players in the criminal underworld who continue to fuel Jamaica’s crime problem. The Holness administration handed over a list of names toWashington earlier this month. THE DISCLOSURE was made during last Wednesday’s Office of the Prime Minister media briefing at which Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared states of emergency (SOEs) in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and sections of Kingston and St Andrew. Holness, at the same time, signalled his intent to use US laws to interdict criminals in that country who are influencing local crime as murders this year have already surpassed the 1,463 recorded last year. As at 9 a.m. Wednesday, the country recorded 1,481 homicides for 2022, a 1.2 per cent year-on-year increase with just over three days left. Holness raised the challenge in a series of meetings with the US Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law-enforcement agencies during his five-day visit to the US capital in early December. “The partnerships have usually been our partners utilising our laws here to interdict criminals in which they have an interest,” said Holness. “What we have said is that we need to utilise these existing partnerships to be able to interdict criminals in foreign countries.” He said that a list of names of USbased criminals the police have been tracking and have“certain intelligence on”has been submitted to the agencies. “The entities are [now] doing their work. I don’t want to say too much, but you will see the results of our efforts very shortly,” he said. In the meantime, the prime minister said that while there has been“reasonable success” in controlling the number of murders leading up to the Christmas season, the threat levels for ongoing gang conflicts, contract killings, organised robberies of businesses, hijacking of goods in transit, and various scams that lead to the loss of life, among other things, remain elevated and extensive. Wednesday’s declaration of the SOEs is the fourth since the start of the year. He said the latest declarations were decided on after analysing the available data and intelligence, which showed a trend similar to last December when 127 murders were committed for the month. “The Government acted reasonably and decisively to save lives and preserve the freedoms of ordinary citizens,” said Holness. Chairman of the Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee, Lloyd Distant, said stakeholders have recognised from the previously declared SOEs that “it is absolutely within the Government’s purview to determine when it needs to call a state of emergency”on the advice of the police commissioner and chief of defence staff. Distant said that the overall murder figure is disappointing but noted that the December reduction is “heartening”. “Like all well-thinking Jamaicans, we had really hoped that this year, we would have seen a significant reduction. I’m pleased to hear that the numbers for [this] December are significantly lower than December 2021 … . The commissioner has spoken to the use of the states of emergency, which were critical in enabling them to keep the numbers as low as they are,”Distant told The Gleaner. Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson said that there has been a significant reduction in murders, achieved, in part, as a result of the SOEs. Anderson noted that since the beginning of the year, Jamaica had recorded a daily average of four murders. This, he said, peaked in September, when the daily murder average was nearly five. Anderson noted that September and October saw increases in murders as high as eight per cent when compared to similar periods in 2021. He said that the daily murder average has since been reduced to 2.5 and that the gap in murders between last year and this year has moved from a high of eight per cent to 1.5 per cent currently. “This has been achieved through a suite of legislative, intelligence, and operational responses,”the police commissioner said. Anderson charged that the SOEs have proven to be the quickest and most effective way of reducing violent crime. During the first period of the SOEs in November, murders were reduced by some 64 per cent and thereafter increased by 171 per cent over the first seven days after the security measures were removed, Anderson outlined. When the powers were reinstituted, declines as high as 55 per cent were recorded, he added. “As we close this year and move into next year, it is critical for us to sustain the downward trend using all the tools that we know are effective in curbing the violence that we continue to see,” Anderson stressed. Holness says crime lords up North to be collared as SOE loop continues HOLNESS Lester Hinds/Gleaner Writer A JAMAICAN paediatrician practising in New York, was murdered in a four-day crime spree in Harlem, New York, last week. THE BODY of 60-year-old Dr Bruce Maurice Henry was discovered inside Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem in the early hours of December 23. His throat was slashed and he had been stabbed several times. Henry was born in Lucea, Hanover, but grew up in neighbouringWestmoreland. He spent his formative years in Jamaica before migrating to the United States, where he obtained his medical degree in 1987. Throughout his career, he worked with several hospitals in the New York area. Dr Roy Streete, the head of the Overseas International Development (OID) who has known Henry for over two decades, recalled that he was very good with children. “He made several medical trips with OID and was a gentle person,” Streete said. “It is a very sad occurrence.” Police began searching for Henry’s car after obtaining video of a man and a woman entering the car near the park. On Monday, the police arrested 35-year-old ex-convict Roland Codrington and charged him with Henry’s murder. He is accused of killing two people and stabbing two others in four days, with Henry being his last victim. According to the police, there was no prior interaction between Codrington and Henry. Codrington, who was apprehended while driving Henry’s Mercedes-Benz, has been described by the NewYork police as a career criminal with at least a dozen prior busts on his rap sheet. According to Chief of Patrol John Chell, three “sharp-eyed officers from the 30th police precinct made the apprehension”. The accused man was with four other people when he was approached by cops and he told them that he was the person they wanted, a police report said. According to a New York Times report, the crime spree began about 1 a.m. last week Monday, when a 51-year-old man was fatally slashed in Manhattan. Police said the victim could be seen on video walking along a roadway when he was approached by a man, now identified as Codrington, and a woman, who police say is his girlfriend. After a brief argument, Codrington reportedly pulled out a knife and slashed the other man’s neck. The second incident reportedly took place on Thursday at around 11:30 p.m. at a bar in East Harlem. Codrington, who had been thrown out of the bar a week earlier after a dispute with staff, returned with his girlfriend, a pit bull and a baseball bat, the police said. He reportedly assaulted the bartender and destroyed property. He allegedly used a large knife to stab two customers who intervened. Their injuries were not life-threatening. The police further report that Codrington went home, then left to take a walk early Friday morning, when he encountered Henry in the park and stabbed him to death after an argument. Jamaican doctor killed in New York Boys plays in the sea at Bob Marley Beach in Bull Bay, St. Andrew, as the sun sets for the final time in 2022. IAN ALLEN/PHOTOGRAPHER