CONVERSATIONS: Police and local business owners meet in Kingston
EFFORTS BY senior members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to reassure downtown Kingston vendors and shoppers, especially those moving about, conducting business in and around the Coronation Market area, that they will be safe throughout the Yuletide season were met with mixed reactions.
Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Area 4, Devon Watkis, and other senior members of the JCF, including Senior Superintendent (SSP) in charge of the Kingston West Division, Howard Chambers, toured Coronation Market last week to reassure the public that all is well and safe for Christmas.
Chambers told The Gleaner that two of the persons who are suspected of killing a man inside the market have been taken into police custody and charged.
"We have done the necessary operations to take these violence producers off the streets. We have now in custody the two persons that were involved. Those persons were charged. Coming up on the Yuletide season, we did our walk today to show some high visibility. It is safe to shop in the market," SSP Chambers said.
Some persons told The Gleaner that they felt safe carrying out their business in downtown Kingston, despite recent killings, including the one which took place inside the market. Others wanted to see more police personnel in the market district more often.
"The place nuh safe. We want police roun yah fi walk up and dung fi mek di people dem can come a market come buy. A here suh mi deh fi 10 years now and mi neva see the place suh (terrible) yet. We need more police officers. We need nuff more (walk foot police) inna downtown because people a come yah five o'clock a morning come buy and we nuh see nuh police (down here) at five inna di morning," vendor Deandre Gayle told The Gleaner.
Sonia Davis, a regular downtown shopper, said if more police were on patrol throughout the day, then some illegal activities would not happen.
"I prefer the police dem patrol more often because wah day yah mi a pass through the market and mi see dem grab one phone and run. Sometimes like every two hour (the police are out), then you just see the place still. You affi a put up your money because you nuh know if gunman a come tek weh your money and thing," she stressed.
Vendor Dianna Lee, who plies her wares mostly on weekends, said she was happy with the security force's presence in downtown.
"We are safe right now. Nothing much not going on, it's very much safe right now. Most of the time I sell on the weekends and I see a lot of police around. We are happy to see the police and the soldiers out."