Chang: 32 suspected gangsters out on bail wreak havoc in Westmoreland
Left to right: Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson; National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang and Chief Superintendent Wayne Josephs at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new Frome Police Station. (Photo: Anthony Lewis)
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland – As Westmoreland bled from a string of murders, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang on Thursday blamed the feet of 32 suspected gang members who are out on bail. He also expressed concern that light sentences embolden convicted criminals.
“There are not only several known felons on the road right now who are on bail for killing people, [but] there are others who have been in prison, found guilty. After the police investigated, prosecuted and charged, they were found guilty and they were released very soon. In fact, they are now willing to kill more because they now feel they can go through the system and are no longer afraid of being apprehended or prosecuted. And there are several around,” he said.
Dr Chang was speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for Frome Police Station in Westmoreland.
At a subsequent press briefing, the Minister of Security referred to a particularly troubling case.
“One individual in particular became famous for making eight bail applications, could have been [facing] six or seven counts of murder. One of his bail bondsmen was killed at some point. On this occasion, he is still behind bars… It reflects some of the issues we have,” he said.
The Minister of Security has pointed to the Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Bill as a solution. Concerns have been raised about certain aspects of the legislation. However, Dr Chang said he firmly believed the law was an appropriate response to what is happening in the country right now.
The law is expected to pass the Upper House on Friday, after which it will be forwarded to the Governor General for proclamation.
“If you are carrying an illegal firearm we know it is part of your intention to kill someone and we are going to get you off the street and so we have instituted tough penalties,” the security minister said. at the inauguration ceremony on Thursday. .
“We do this deliberately because not only do we want to send the message, but we want to send it correctly. When officers who work hard, long hours, put themselves in danger and find a criminal killer with guns, it will be in jail, locked up in state care for a period of time and the policeman can continue his work,” said Dr. Chang.
He said the law will be approved and as soon as it is approved it will be implemented.
“As soon as it is approved in the Senate, I will announce the appointed day and the police will have a new tool to operate; a tool that we believe will be effective in dealing with all criminal activity. And when they will do, it will have an impact on crime,” he promised.
Turning his attention to the professionalism of the police forces, the minister noted an improvement in behavior, compared to previous complaints of extrajudicial executions. However, he urged lawmen to shoot to kill if attacked by gunmen.
“We’ve had fatal shootings because men shot at them. I don’t tell any cops to shoot back. As I said here in Westmoreland, I don’t send ambulances there either. Every once a man takes a gun after a policeman, I expect the commissioner to drag them away, when he shoots don’t miss. I don’t want him [the gunman] come and give trouble at the hospital or wherever,” he said.
Westmoreland Parish has a reputation for being a hotbed of crime stemming from gang and lotto scam activity.
Since the beginning of the year, it has recorded 107 murders, of which 49 have been solved.
Since the beginning of the week, three murders have been committed in the parish.
According to the Constabulary Communications Unit, the most recent was on Monday with the murder of Dudley Levy of Dalling Street, Savanna-la-Mar. The day before, Andre Brown, 28, a cabinetmaker from the New Hope District, Little London, was shot and killed.