Custos: We can’t go back to living in fear
Bishop Conrad Pitkin, the custos rotulorum for St James, is calling for immediate action to be taken to stop the growing murder tally in the parish, which he says is renewing fear among residents.
Pitkin was speaking at the 38th annual staging of the Montpelier Agricultural Show in St James yesterday against the background of St James’ latest police statistics which have recorded 48 murders between January 1 and April 20, compared to 29 over the similar period last year during the parish’s state of public emergency.
“I am deeply concerned about the rapid rise in shootings and murders in St James. Murders have almost doubled over the last few months, and something must be done immediately to stop this rise, and to cauterise and minimise it as much as possible,” said Pitkin.
“I think the citizens are returning to a place of fear and trepidation, and we cannot afford for that to happen. It’s not good for Montego Bay, it’s not good for the parish and it’s not good for Jamaica, and so we’re hoping something will be done soon,” Pitkin added. “I said at the end of the SOE, and I maintain now, that we can’t return to the former years of violent murders and killings in St James, and what we’re seeing now is a rapid increase in murders.”
Pitkin also denounced Sunday’s shooting of Constable Sheldon Murray in the Norwood in the parish.
“I’m concerned about the police constable that was attacked on Sunday, and I thank God he is alive, but this is barbaric and should not have happened, and we need to take serious note about it,” said Pitkin.
Ironically, St James’ increased murder tally to date forms part of Jamaica’s overall reduced tally of 406 killings between January 1 and the first three weeks of April, which is 41 less than was recorded in the similar period last year.
However, police statistics indicate that shootings have increased islandwide, with 413 cases being reported up to last Saturday, compared to 394 for the corresponding period last year.