Life after Ski Mask : Community now breathes a sigh of relief
About this time last year, residents of Barrett Town, St James, were living in constant fear of men aligned to the 'Ski Mask' criminal gang, which is blamed for several murders and shootings in the community and places like neighbouring Lilliput.
Many persons had to move out of the area and businesses closed down, while outsiders stayed clear due to the conflicts and instability that the criminal gang brought upon the community and its environs.
However, earlier this year, members of the Ski Mask gang were cut down by the security forces in an alleged gun battle in Goodwill in the parish. Since then, there has been some semblance of peace and normalcy has returned to the community.
"Man (gunmen) in a the community same way but the area kind a cool right now," said a male resident. "Anybody can come back come live in Barrett Town because we nah hear no gunshot a buss," he added
The security forces have a tight grip in the community and the people said it is the best Barrett Town has been in years.
"The area is coming on good, the police and soldiers doing their work," one resident told the Western STAR.
"They are out there in the day and mostly at nights so residents feel safer. Not to the point of leaving windows open, but we are more confident that the police and soldiers moving about." she added.
However, although the people expressed relief in knowing that they are able to freely move about during the day and night, some still stated that they have to remain cautious as incidents can spring up at any moment.
"Up here (in Barrett Town) always quiet, but sometimes you hear about one and two things, so although you see nothing nah gwaan, some people still scared," another resident said.
"I see the soldiers start patrol again and people start move back into their house."
"I would want to see Barrett Town come back normal again. People can walk free and you nuh haffi deh fraid for your life sometimes. We have the young daughters and sons coming up from work and we nuh affi deh fear say something might happen to them on the way," the resident said.