Returning Residents Murder - Surprising Facts
Photo Source: The Sunday Observer December 9, 2018-Clovis Toons
by Isreal, Associate Writer
Gruesome! I recently heard about the murders of both Karen Cleary-Brown and Barbara Findley. Haven't you heard?
I extend condolences to the family and friends of both Karen Cleary-Brown and Barbara Findley, and indeed anyone who lost a loved one violently.
What was different about the cases of Karen Cleary-Brown and Barbara Findley was that they were both returning residents, unconnected to each other, but murdered days apart in savage ways. This below, is what we learned.
The Two Case Stories
Karen Cleary-Brown was found dead in Boscobel (St. Mary). She was stabbed nine times! But get this, She was allegedly killed by the caretaker of her property, Sheldon Hewitt. Mr. Hewitt has since been arrested and charged with the murder after confessing to it.
No one has since been charged in the murder of Barbara Findley but the police are still investigating. She was found in the bushes along the roadside of Santa Cruz in the parish of St. Elizabeth.
Those are both recent cases, but in the past there have been others such as Delroy Walker, who was murdered in April while arguing with a painter about money over a job. There was also Gayle and Charlie Anderson who were murdered while police investigated a money fraud on their bank card.
This is at the minimum, is concerning that our beautiful country has recorded these appalling acts of violence against some of our most vulnerable.
The Cry From Civil Society
Mr. Percival Latouche, President of the Jamaica Association of Resettlement of Returning Residents, went as far as to suggest that returning residents should not come home due to the violence. Mr. Latouche noted that for 2018, twelve returnees have been killed to date (Early December)
By the way, according to Professor Elizabeth Thomas-Hope in her report, Jamaica: Migration Profile 2017
, "Over the ten years 2007-2016, there were 10,190 voluntary returning residents recorded".
Mr. Latouche, is just one of many who got frustrated about the reports to the extent that they are cautioning those looking to return home. There was also a (now) famous lady who reportedly taped herself and shared it on social media.
10,190 in ten year, from my calculation make it just over 1000 persons who return home per year. So twelve death of that is 1.2%.
For some, it sounds minute, but 1% is still too much, it is still lives taken.
The Whole Truth?
There are many theories and perspectives surrounding the deaths. For many, the financial motivation is the obvious reason, perhaps with reference to the Andersons and Delroy Walker, but according to Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of Security recently the killings of both Karen Cleary-Brown and Barbara Findley (died days apart) were done by persons they knew well and not unknown assailants!
They were not targeted because of their returning residents status, meaning, perceived to have loads of money, hence robbery. It was more personal conflicts.
In fact, those communities where the ordeal happened (Boscobel in St. Mary and Santa Cruz in St. Elizabeth) are two of the safer communities in the island!
Dr. Chang continued in the interview with Loop news that the alleged killers had a level of romantic connection to the victims.
By the way, in later media reports, I learned that it could have been a love triangle situation as well!
By the way, did you know that persons coming to Jamaica, visit or live, are safer than us who live here?
Yes, The Organization of Security Advisory Council (USA) for example, noted that for Jamaica, the USA expatriates were safer than the locals!
And this is due to several factors, but the most notable is that crime in Jamaica is organized and concentrated in particular areas, usually the more deprived, non-touristy, part of the island.
By the way, want to guess what percentage of gang-violence account for murders in Jamaica?
Up to 80%! Yes eighty percent my friend!
That said, I, like many well thinking Jamaicans, still have a major concern, as it does not paint a good picture on our beloved island, even with a significant 21% decrease in murders this year.
Special Operations are Helping
They have gotten some stick from the opposition, and perhaps for good reason in some cases, but the current government has been making it harder for hardened criminals to commit their acts with the installation of special operations, confined to special areas of the island.
Currently, the two main ones are, the ZOSOs, and the Enhance Security Measures (ESMs).
These are currently located in and around St. James, St. Catherine and Kingston. They appear to have accounted for the notable reduction this year.
Those remain short to medium term approaches though, at least for now. We expect to see a more sustainable approach soon that incorporates, education, opportunities and people engagement.
Personal Safety Tips
Note this though, crime is everywhere and devious and insensitive persons will commit a crime if they have the desire, ability and opportunity.
So here are some important safety tips for you wherever you are in the world, not just Jamaica.
- Be careful of so called friends and acquaintances. Choose your friends carefully.
- If you notice a car driving behind you at a slow pace and taking all the turns with you, then call the police immediately (119) or go to the nearest police station.
- Don’t put up signs on your house that suggest alarm when there is not. This will grab the attention of criminals. Do remember that gangs are usually made up of young men.
- Do not make it obvious to everyone your routine times for leaving and entering your home.
- Organize a community watch with neighbours.
- Try and organize a ‘safe room’ in the house. This room has a cell phone, strong windows and doors with good locking system to slow down intruders if you suspect a break-in.
- If you use an alarm system, ensure that your alarm system is linked to security or the police. This is more effective than an alarm system that alerts just the neighbours.
- Do not travel with too much cash. Never pay to be a target.
- Do not travel with important documents as this makes identity theft easier.
- Do not dress with too much ‘bling’ or jewelry especially when going on long trips as this will attract robbers.
- And my favourite, pray before leaving home, cover yourself under the blood of Jesus!
Be safe! Jamaica is as safe as we make it be.
- BBC News. 2018. Britons Charlie and Gayle Anderson are Murdered in Jamaica taken from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-44594876
- Grindley, Norman. 2016. Core Causes of Jamaica’s Violence The Jamaica Daily Gleaner taken from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160929/core-causes-jamaicas-violence
- Loop. 2018. Domestic Disputes Behind Most Murders of Returning Residents-Chang taken from http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/domestic-disputes-behind-most-murders-returning-residents-chang
- Loop. 2018. Caretaker Charged with Murder of Jamaican-British Woman in St. Mary taken from http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/caretaker-charged-murder-jamaican-british-woman-st-mary
- JIS. 2017. Important Provisions in the Zones of Special Operations Law taken from https://jis.gov.jm/important-provisions-zones-special-operations-law/
- Loop. 2018. Kingston 16th Among the World’s Most Dangerous Cities-Study taken from http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/kingston-16th-among-worlds-most-dangerous-cities-study
- NewUSA. 2018. Ten Anti-Crime Tips to Avoid Being a Victim taken from http://www.newsusa.com/articles/article/ten-anti-crime-tips-to-avoid-being-a-victim.aspx
- The Daily Observer. 2018. Chang Pinpoints Domestic Dispute in Murders of Returning Residents taken from www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Chang_pinpoints_domestic_dispute_in_murders_of_returning_residents
- The Guardian. 2018. Retirees Returning to Jamaica Face Extreme Murder Risk, say Police taken from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/29/retirees-returning-to-jamaica-face-extreme-risk-say-police
- The Sunday Observer. 2018. Clovis Toons taken from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/tools/cartoons/20181209?profile=1566