Shock and disbelief! – US Jamaicans react to latest cop killings

NEW YORK, USA — Jamaicans in the United States have reacted sharply to Friday’s killing and wounding of four members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), renewing an offer to help fight crime at home, and launching a GoFundMe account for the families of the ill-fated cops.

In a statement condemning the deadly attack on the police officers in Horizon Park just outside Spanish Town, St Catherine, the Jamaica Diaspora Task Force on Crime Intervention and Prevention warned that Jamaica could be “on the path of no return in its efforts to contain the high murder rate now affecting the country”.

“Laws are being flouted by these criminals, which will have a severe impact on our ability to reach the goals of our 2030 vision,” said task force Chairman Dr Rupert Francis, adding that new measures and an all-hands-on-deck approach are needed in the fight to bring the country’s murder toll under control.

Francis bemoaned the fact that offers to the Jamaican Government by the Diaspora to help fight crime over several years, including one made earlier this year, had been ignored. The offer included expertise, finance and equipment.

“We are ready to help. We have the expertise in several areas and we also have access to resources –including financial – and equipment,” Francis said then.

The task force has added the possibility of a new correctional facility equipped to provide the requisite rehabilitative programmes, amid the back and forth in Jamaica over which Administration turned down a British offer for a new state-of-the art prison.

The early morning Horizon Park incident has left members of the Jamaican community here in shock and disbelief, with Ronnie Hammick, president of the Ex-Correctional Officers Association of Jamaica, a Brooklyn-based non-profit, describing it as “obviously an attack on the State”.

Hammick said it was most unfortunate that the country had lost two more lives and two more wounded to gun violence, suggesting that there was need to ramp up efforts to determine the source and means by which guns, including high-powered weapons, were getting into the country.

“Those loopholes need to be plugged,” he said as he offered condolences to the JCF, the families, friends and colleagues of the slain officers.

Meanwhile, president of the Jamaica Progressive League, Sadie Campbell, as well as Patrick Callum, who heads the New York chapter of G2K, an affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, have both condemned the murder of the two policemen and the injuring of the others.

And a former member of the JCF, Dwight P Bailey, is recommending that Government invests in motion-activated cameras and drone surveillance as part of its efforts to deal with murders and other acts of criminal activities in the country.

Dr Francis, in the meantime, said plans are being finalised to launch a GoFundMe account to assist the families of the two slain police officers and to help with the rehabilitation of the injured officers.

He said that the goal is to raise US$50,000 and that more details on the plan are to be announced soon.

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