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‘Homicides a spill-off from gangs’ 2014 cocaine war’

‘Homicides a spill-off from gangs’ 2014 cocaine war’


As the number of recorded homicides for 2016 hit 34, police have revealed that 28 of these murders have more in common than the use of firearms.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Head of Crime and Assistant Commissioner (ACP) of Police Frankie Joseph said that excluding the quadruple murder which occurred two weeks ago and two other homicides by stabbing, all of the others homicides committed this year are connected in some way.

“They are related, in the sense that they are a spill-off of the 2014 record murders, where the cocaine, as we knew, came in on the Brighton beach and as a result of that, different groups started to kill each other,” said Joseph.{{more}}

According to the ACP, different crime groups operating in the country are responsible for most of the 2016 murders and these groups have made up their minds to attack each other.

The ACP, however, added that although the police have information about the different crime groups, they so far lack evidence to support their intelligence.

“We have information and we know the players; we are going at them and we are going at them very hard,” he stated.

Joseph said patrols and stops and searches have been increased over the past three months.

“We recognize that between Vermont to Diamond, especially in the south central division, that most of these murders have been committed in that area and while we have island patrol and stop and search, our main focus is really between Vermont and Diamond.”

The ACP stated that while patrols continue across the island, the main operations put in place to curb the murders have been focused on the ‘Hot Areas’, which he identified as Ottley Hall/Edinboro, Paul’s Avenue, Redemption Sharpes/Green Hill and Villa/Glen.

“Players of these groups, they have already made up their minds; it is left to us to catch them and to stop them,” he said.

Joseph further revealed that on numerous occasions, police officers would have to “take up” some of these “players” for safekeeping when information reaches the constabulary that these individuals are marked for death.

He explained that although it is for their own safety, the police cannot keep these persons locked away forever and in a few cases, players have died shortly after police released them.

What is of particular concern within the constabulary is the high risk of bystander casualties, as seen in a murder at Glen last month.

On Friday, October 7, 2016 10-month-old Mozari Lee was fatally shot by a lone gunman. His father Mozart Lee and mother Shelly-Ann Durham received nonfatal gunshot wounds.

“He (Mozart Lee) also was not involved in that, but they just happened to get caught in the crossfire and that really concerns us greatly in terms of that,” Joseph said, commenting on the issue.

The officer in charge of crime noted that patrols do not leave Glen, as it is one of main priority areas of police, who he said are doing everything within their power to reassure residents of that area that the police would protect them.

He said residents of Glen must also take safety precautions and be conscious that the area is a hot spot.

“We all have to be in this fight against crime together; the police cannot do it alone, we need the support of the public.”

Joseph urged persons to come forward with whatever information they have, although a lot of citizens have stated that they do not feel safe giving information to police.

He, however, suggested that they call any police station and give the information without having to state their name or address.

“So, you call any police station number; you can just give the information, you hang up the phone,” he added.

When Allanzo ‘Cracky’ Kydd was gunned down on Monday, November 21 at Villa Flat, he became the 34th homicide victim for the year. Kydd went out in a blaze of gunfire, heard by residents too afraid to look outside.

The ‘quadruple murder’ excluded by Joseph from the other murders are the four homicides that took place between Sunday, November 13 from 11 p.m. to Monday, November 14 around 2 a.m. Police suspect all four homicides were committed by the same person. Jurani Baptiste, a teenager with a history of mental illness, is a person of interest in that investigation.

The two other homicides by stabbing occurred at Belmont and Georgetown on May 2 and May 30 respectively.

By SEARCHLIGHT’s reckoning, more than 80 per cent of this year’s homicides have occurred in the southern tip of mainland St Vincent between Vermont and Stubbs, with at least seven of these having occurred in the Villa/Glen area, where Joseph disclosed the police are placing special emphasis.

“We have patrols that do not leave Glen, the shift only changes, because Glen is one of our number one priorities,” he said.

Additionally, over the last few months, SEARCHLIGHT has observed that many of the persons who appear before the court on firearm and ammunition charges also originate from that area.

According to ACP Joseph, St Vincent and the Grenadines recorded its highest homicide toll of 37 in 2014, with last year seeing 28 murders.

Joseph said although there is an overall decrease in crime, homicides are increasing and the police are trying to prevent crime instead of investigating murders.