No need to fear - MoBay mayor says cops to blanket city for Christmas
Montego Bay mayor Homer Davis says there is no need for any undue fear about crime crippling the second city this Christmas.
"People will feel fearful, yes, but based on discussions, the police will be out there to make sure that whatever you were fearful of will not materialise," Davis told the WESTERN STAR yesterday.
St James recorded 308 murders up to Sunday, which represents a 29 per cent increase over last year.
Davis said that he had a meeting with key security players last Friday, and he is confident that the security forces are putting measures in place to secure the city.
"What they have outlined, I am confident that the city will be saturated over the Yuletide season," Davis said, adding that the security forces will be in major public spaces in Montego Bay and in the major towns of the rural areas.
Davis' comments follow news that persons have been leaving Montego Bay out of fear.
"I had an employee who came here from Portland but because of the crime situation, he has decided to pack up and leave," said Davon Crump, former president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "We now have some workers who live in volatile communities whose shifts we have to cut short so that they can get home at a safe hour ... so the crime situation is definitely hurting the business sector."
FEAR OF CRIME
Davis, when asked about outsiders fleeing Montego Bay in droves because of the fear of crime said: "I have heard no such thing."
Yet, a prominent businessman, who asked not to be named, said it is a frightening reality.
"I have lost a few workers who became so scared by the violence that they have decided to resign and go back to whence they came," he said. "We are in a crisis and somebody in authority better wake up to this reality quickly".
He said that right now, many businesses that operate a night shift are thinking about cutting it out totally.
"Workers are scared of leaving their communities at nights," he continued. "You can't be hearing talks of new security measures being introduced, but still seeing people being killed daily."
Even some persons who were born and bred in the western region are now harbouring thoughts of running away to either other parts of Jamaica or overseas to escape the carnage.
"I am taking my family to Canada ... I am not prepared to stay here and the next thing they kill one of my children," a former security consultant told THE WESTERN STAR. "Patriotism is one thing, but safety and security is another. It is better to be safe in another man's country, than to stay here and be killed."