Hours after the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness declared a public state of emergency for the western parish of St James on Thursday (Jan 18), law enforcement authorities reported that they have found a high-powered Kalashnikov rifle and six rounds of ammunition in Montego Bay.
A press release from the Joint Police/Military Communications Unit stated that the weapon was found in the crime-ridden are of Flanker.
“The rifle and ammunition were found during a targeted operation in the Flanker area of Montego Bay, sometime around noon today,” according to the release.
“Members of the security forces went into unoccupied premises in the area and after a thorough search, the weapon was found hidden in a rice bag. No one was arrested in connection with the find,” the release stated.
The early results are very encouraging, according to Inspector Dian Bartley of the communications unit
“We went into a number of hotpots and crime-ridden areas in Montego Bay, from as early as 5: 00 a.m. today, and are very happy with this seizure,” Inspector Bartley told reporters.
“Numerous incidents of shootings and murder in the space have been committed with similar high-powered weapons and we will now rely on the ballistic and forensic technology to determine if this particular rifle was involved in any of the several murders that were committed over the past two weeks,” she added.
Andrew Holness in outlining the basis for the decision to implement the state of emergency, during a press conference at Jamaica House, stated that crime and violence have been escalating to an extensive scale.
“Crime and violence, in particular murders, have been escalating in the parish of St James. I have been advised by the security forces in writing that the level of criminal activity… is of such a nature and so extensive in scale, as to endanger public safety,” said the prime minister in outlining the basis for the decision to implement the state of emergency,” he said.