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Grants Pen shootings, murders trigger severe decline in businesses

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2023 | 12:09 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Police personnel keeping a watchful eye on Grants Pen in St Andrew earlier this week as tension remain high after a bloody weekend.
Police personnel keeping a watchful eye on Grants Pen in St Andrew earlier this week as tension remain high after a bloody weekend.

Residents of Grants Pen in St Andrew are bemoaning the negative effects of the latest upsurge in deadly violence on their community, and many insist the crisis has no easy fix.

Businesses in the area have seen sales dwindle in the last week after multiple murders in recent days, including a triple killing, and a 48-hour curfew which ended at 6 a.m. on Friday.

Up to press time, there had been no indication that the security measure, which was imposed by the police to ease tensions in the area, had been extended.

Betty* told The Gleaner on Friday that a more long-term approach to fixing Grants Pens woes is needed, suggesting that a zone of special operations would be ideal.

“The goods not moving fast enough [off the shelves] and the delivery trucks didn’t come like they usually do. So we can’t get the goods to buy and we entire livelihood gonna crash. We used to this and it hard to fix,” she said.

Three men were killed about 3 p.m. on Sunday along Shortwood Lane. Two have since been identified as 45-year-old Shane Brooks and Gawayne Harvey. The third victim remains unidentified.

This followed last Saturday’s murder and shooting, where reports suggest brother of dancehall artiste Mluleki ‘Jahshii’ Clarke was among the dead.

TWO SHOT

Reports are that 39-year-old David Clarke of Grants Pen Avenue and another man were shot in their community about 2:05 a.m.

Clarke was pronounced dead while the other man was admitted.

“This war that is going on will only further divide the place. By 7 p.m., the road dem empty … . Not even dog a walk the night road. No round robin can’t keep and no party because the police dem nuh want no gathering. The late-night shop dem, dat business done. The whole place slow up,” one male resident told The Gleaner.

The residents pointed to the popular Sunday event Boom Sundays, which is now on pause.

“Boom Sundays no keep last week and it nah keep this Sunday. It bring a lot of people to the community and even though a nuh weh Boom Sundays keep have war, a one Grants Pen, so people a go stay away,” the resident said.

The economic implications are severe because several persons benefit from its weekly hosting.

A police source told The Gleaner that the Grants Pen crime wave is complex and several persons are reportedly leaving the space.

“One of the suspects held following the murder Sunday is from Grants Pen … . Persons have begun to move out or just leave the space. Some persons have not been seen since the incident, fuelling further suspense. The police have a presence in the space and are conducting the necessary investigation,” the senior lawman said.

The police say they are satisfied that short-term intervention efforts are working to control the space.

There was a major operation this week and, according to the lawman, from a safety and security standpoint, things are under control.

The Gleaner was unable to reach head of the St Andrew North Police Division, Superintendent Shericka Service, for comment as repeated calls to her cell phone went unanswered.

As of midnight Thursday, the national murder toll since the start of the year stood at 1,031 victims. This represents a 12 per cent year-on-year reduction.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com