The Gleaner: KINGSTON, Jamaica – Prime Minister Andrew Holness has described the country’s current crime calamity as barbaric and savage.

Holness was speaking during a press briefing this morning following the  declaration of States of Public Emergency (SOE) in seven police divisions: Westmoreland, Hanover, St James, St Andrew South, Kingston Western, Kingston Central and Kingston East.

“It is almost a competition for cruelty, the worst of the worst and it appears to be designed, properly calculated to drive fear into the citizens of the country and panic in communities,” said Holness.

He reinforced that the Government cannot see these things happening and not take action.

A casket carrying the body of Shevon Johnson (age 16) is taken for burial by school mates and family members to the Dovecott cemetery in Spanish Town December 14, 2008. Johnson was stabbed to death by a classmate after a disagreement over a cell phone at the Dunoon Technical High School in Kingston, Jamaica November 17, 2008. Violence in Jamaican schools has increased along with the overall rates of violence in murder in Jamaica.

As at Friday, Jamaica had recorded a total of 1,240 murders.

The figure does not include the 11 killings recorded within the past 24 hours.

Nine of the eleven murder committed within the last 24-hours were recorded in the western sections currently under the SOE. 

The four divisions across Kingston account for 392 (or 32 per cent)  of the national murder figure. 

Meanwhile, of the 1,100 people shot and injured across the country, 391 or 36 per cent were recorded across the divisions. 

Two hundred and seventy two murders were recorded in St James, Westmoreland and Hanover.

Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson who described Jamaica’s crime situation as an epidemic said about 70 per cent of murders are committed by members of criminal gangs.

He added that said criminal networks are being funded through extortion, scamming and the drugs-for-guns trade.

The commissioner  stressed that the country’s murder rate persists at a level of three times the regional average, and eight times the global average.

Murders this year have increased by 10 per cent.

“This 10 per cent is 10 per cent of a persistently, unacceptably, high number, which means Jamaica’s homicide rate remains within the top five countries in the world.,” Anderson said.

  • As at Friday, Jamaica had recorded a total of 1,240 murders. The figure does not include the 11 killings recorded within the past 24 hours.