Monday 3 August, 2020

Munroe lauds security forces’ efforts to fight organised crime

Professor Trevor Munroe

Professor Trevor Munroe

Executive Director of National Integrity Action (NIA), Professor Trevor Munroe has lauded the security forces’ efforts to push back against organised crime, this while urging Jamaicans in general to make greater use of the services of agencies like Crime Stop to help break the back of crime and corruption nationally.

Munroe took both positions while addressing a sensitisation session for Justices of the Peace (JP) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Friday.

“Use Crime Stop more fully by yourselves and encourage other citizens to do likewise,” Munroe told the JPs.

He said for the first nine months of 2016-2017, Crime Stop was receiving approximately 100 calls per month.

“In a similar period in 2018-2019, that increased to 200, with more arrests, seizures of contraband and weapons, and payment of rewards as a result of these anonymous tips,” Munroe shared.

He said Crime Stop paid out $8 million in rewards for tips in the first 11 months of 2019, four times more than for the same period for 2017.

“Use the other hotlines as well, to MOCA (Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency), to the auditor general’s office, to NIA, as each of us does our part in dealing more effectively with corruption and violent crime,” Munroe remarked.

In relation to the sustained effort by the security forces to dismantle gangs which operate as criminal enterprises, Munroe said he was encouraged by developments on that front.

He noted that the reputed leader of one faction of the notorious Spanish Town-based Clansman gang, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, along with some 45 alleged members of the gang, are scheduled to appear in court on December 19 to face numerous charges.

“Next month (alleged) members of the King’s Valley gang, based largely in Westmoreland, will be brought before the courts, and a verdict is due to be handed down in relation to the recent trial of (alleged members of) the (reputed) Uchence Wilson gang,” Munroe also indicated.

“And, of course, we have been encouraged by the recent conviction of Tesha Miller, a (reputed) leader of the Clansman gang in St Catherine.  May I use this opportunity to congratulate the investigators, prosecutors, judicial officers and jurors who are coming forward to reduce crime and corruption and enhance citizen security and safety,” Munroe added.

On Tuesday a seven-member jury voted unanimously to convict Miller for the June 27, 2008 murder of then Chairman of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), Douglas Chambers.

Miller was found guilty on one count of accessory before the fact, and one count of being an accessory after the fact, of murder. The main prosecution witness, who claimed to be a former member of the gang, testified that he was present at a meeting when Miller gave the order for Chambers to be killed.

Bryan, who the court was told carried out the killing, was arrested and charged for the offence in 2010, but was acquitted at trial in 2016. He has been in custody awaiting trial on charges of running a criminal organisation and recruiting an adult into a criminal organisation.

Miller, who is to be sentenced on January 9, faces life imprisonment. His attorney, Bert Samuels, has served notice that he will be appealing the verdict.

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