Hunt for gunmen in state of emergency

ADDRESSING parliament today Prime Minister Bruce Golding regretted the loss of life in the ongoing operation by security forces in West Kingston but said that the state would be extending the operation to pursue gunmen in other communities.

So far 26 civilians and one soldier have been confirmed dead in the violence which has seen gunmen from neighbouring and rival communities join forces to prevent the arrest of reputed Tivoli Gardens don, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.

“During this period of public emergency, a concerted effort will be made to go after the criminal gunmen in whatever community they may be ensconced,” said Golding.

He said that the operation in Tivoli Gardens was ongoing to allow for detailed search for illegal guns and persons who may be wanted for criminal charges, such as Coke who is said by police to remain at large.

The period of emergency will last for one month after it was announced on Sunday and is limited to the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew.

He said the outbreak of violence which began with coordinated attacks mean that other measures, besides the state of emergency, need to be employed. He said that there would be early debate in Parliament on the anti-crime bills and that cabinet had yesterday issued drafting instructions for anti-gang legislation.

“We will present to the House proposed amendments to the Bail (Amendment) Act and the Bill to amend the Constabulary Force Act to address as far as possible the concerns raised by the Opposition and civil society groups.”

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