Seaview Gardens residents cry out for ZOSO
Worried that the recent shootings in their community are a prelude to a deadly gang war, residents of Seaview Gardens in St Andrew are now calling on the Government to declare the area a zone of special operations (ZOSO).
Fourteen people have been killed in a string of murders and shootings, with 10 others being injured. A woman who lost a cousin to the gun recently told THE STAR yesterday that she was considering to leave the area.
"Mi inna fear because a nuff talk a make and the man dem serious. If the ZOSO no come now mi feel like say a baay killings a go gwan because a nuff strange face man inna di place. Di Government cyah wait pon a bag a people fi dead fi impose the ZOSO because we here know what a gwan and what can happen," she said. Her fears were echoed by a cabbie who believes the threat of an all-out gang war was imminent, given the brazen manner in which criminals are operating there.
"So from wah day, 6 o'clock nah ketch mi a road because anything can gwan after hours even though di man dem a behave barefaced from these days and a do dem thing inna broad daylight," he said. A 48-hour curfew was imposed in sections of the community on Monday, and will end today at 6 p.m.
However, a senior citizen, who has been living in the community for decades, said what is needed to affect positive changes goes way beyond a curfew.
"So what happens after Wednesday? It nah tek nutten for who a war to wait it out and wi di residents just affi hope and pray say wi no get caught up. Seaview Gardens needs proper social changes, so di Government fi bring in the ZOSO and bring opportunities and hope to the youngsters dem weh a kill, shoot and a gwan like p***y," the senior said.
However, Senior Superintendent Kirk Ricketts, who heads the St Andrew South Police Division, was not optimistic of a ZOSO.
"If you are grading it on a curve, I have other spaces in the division that would be more in need of a ZOSO, and I am responding here given the understanding that ZOSOs are not a dime a dozen," said Ricketts. He, however, urged the citizens to continue working with the police.
"As you can see, we have increased our presence in the space. We have implemented a curfew and we will be assessing to see if we will apply for an extension. We are getting some good feedback from residents in the community who have been supplying some good information as to who and where, and we are targeting efforts at the main players in the conflicts," he said.
Ricketts added that the police are yet to determine the identity of the persons seen in a recent viral video shooting indiscriminately at each other in broad daylight in a section of the community.
"One of the things we are coming upon is that a lot of the times in these communities, which include Seaview Gardens, the actual shooters are not from the space. So you might see people on a video but nobody can identify them because they are imported in the space to carry out shootings," he said.