We will clean up St James - New security minister talks tough
Dr Horace Chang, the new minister of National Security has vowed to rid St James of the culprits who are raining terror on the parish, especially the tourist capital Montego Bay.
“We are going to find them, we are going to find the guns and the murderers,” Dr Chang told the WESTERN STAR in an exclusive interview recently. “Nobody wants them around and the security forces are going to get them wherever they are hiding.”
A state of public emergency was declared for the entire parish on January 18, which has so far seen the removal of approximately 30 illegal guns and several thousand rounds of ammunition, and the arrest of a handful of wanted men.
The anti-crime measure was then rebranded as an enhanced security measure after concerns were raised about the likely negative implications on the nation’s tourism product .
But given the high level of shootings that led to the death of 335 persons in 2017, citizens are concerned about the small number of guns and ammunition being recovered from their communities by the security forces.
However Chang, who is also Member of Parliament for St James North West, which is home to some of the most problematic communities, believes the security forces have brought some level of calm and security and that several of the high profile criminals have fled the parish.
“Murders have reduced to less than a third of those committed last year,” he said. “This is a major, major reduction and the population is beginning to appreciate what is being done by the security forces. But we will not become complacent until we rid the parish of all the gunslingers.”