Gangsters charge 'toll' to enter community
Motorists who use the main road from Cambridge through the community of Retrieve in Montego Bay St James, are growing restive of the 'toll' they have to pay to gangsters to use the road.
A senior citizen, who asked for anonymity, said that earlier this week, he planned on visiting a section in Retrieve, but was persuaded not to do so unless he is willing to pay.
The senior citizen said: "It was shocking to me because I was going up the hills to pick up some pine suckers, and they say to mi, 'Man, if you drive that road, you have to pay toll'. I said: 'What you talking about, after I am not going to Kingston?'."
Flee the community
THE WEEKEND STAR understands that those motorists who have enough courage to fend off the gangsters at the entrance of the community are greeted with guns whenever they reach the top of the community.
Councillor for the Catadupa Division, in which Retrieve falls, Gladston Bent, told THE WEEKEND STAR that public transport operators are especially targeted.
"They target more like the bus man and the taxi man dem," Bent said. "They stop the taxi man dem and ask for money; they don't have a set price on it, but they ask for money."
Bent said he understands that the young men extorting the motorists are just carrying out the instructions of gangsters.
"Mi hear say is some man who say dem a badman send dem to do it," Bent said.
Bent said Retrieve has been plagued with murders in recent times, forcing many residents to flee the community.
He said he is not sure if the extortion is contributing to the exodus of residents from the community.
"I know a lot of families were leaving because of the murders, but I don't know if this is causing it too," Bent said.
When THE WEEKEND STAR contacted the Cambridge police about the issue, a policeman said that there were no reports of any extortion in the area.