Bull Bay begs for a ZOSO in troubled area

Bull Bay begs for a ZOSO in troubled area

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 14, 2019

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RESIDENTS of Bull Bay in St Andrew are calling for the implementation of a Zone of Special Operation (ZOSO) to help reduce crime in the violence-hit community.

The residents said the curfew that was imposed in the eastern St Andrew community last week was not enough, and believe that a ZOSO such as the one that exists in Denham Town would be more effective in flushing out the criminals.

“Look how long ZOSO deh a Denham Town and St James. There should be a ZOSO here,” said one resident.

A frustrated woman who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday that she cried Monday evening when the joint forces withdrew from the community.

The woman, who has been living in the community for more than 40 years, said she is willing to give up her freedom if it meant that the spate of violence would come to an end.

“When them (gunmen) start [firing], is under me bed me reach. Me think SOE (state of emergency) would a reach here long time,” she said, adding that gangsters from warring factions have been trading bullets for weeks.

The fear of crime has caused the mother and grandmother to lose her appetite prior to the imposition of the curfew. “A since dem come mi start eat…” said the woman.

She said the violence has caused children in the community to be traumatised. She has also had to relocate two of her grandchildren who will be sitting the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) later this month.

“One of them had running belly and when we carry her go doctor the doctor say a di gunshot cause it,” said the Bull Bay resident.

Insisting that she felt comfortable when the joint forces were in the St Andrew community, the woman admitted that she’s fearful that the gangsters could return.

“Mi wouldn’t mind hear the (army) helicopter tonight again,” she said during the Observer interview.

Gingerly making his way down Greendale Road, a senior citizen, who has been residing in the community since 1976, told the Observer that there has been sporadic gunfire in the past but said this is the worst he has seen it.

“The curfew shouldn’t leave, it just shouldn’t leave,” the man said.

Another senior citizen who also spoke on condition of anonymity was livid.

“Them no get no gun, them no get no wanted men. Nothing them no get. Them should a just start settle down,” the woman said as she, too, expressed concerns about the early exit of the security forces who had imposed a curfew for a few days.

In another section of the community the cries were similar.

“They should have come long time, probably so much men wouldn’t die. Whole heap died, some unknown, some missing, some weh we nuh know bout,” a resident said. It was, however, not clear how many people died during the gang violence.

Other residents said the curfew was not effective as it was too short.

“The information leak, everybody know. It never make any sense. They said the curfew was coming Wednesday and the curfew came Thursday,” one resident said, suggesting that wanted men had the opportunity to flee the community.

The constabulary’s Corporate Communication Unit, when asked if the security forces managed to hold wanted men during the curfew, said the operation was led by the Jamaica Defence Force.

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