JAMAICA PM promises better protection for the homeless following murders

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday committed to providing greater protection for the homeless community after several pre-dawn attacks left four homeless people dead and two others battling for their lives.

The police are investigating what they said appeared to be coordinated attacks on the vulnerable men in downtown Kingston in Monday’s early hours.

All the victims were chopped. One was found dead on the compound of the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court (Civil and Tax Divisions), two were killed on Hanover Street in central Kingston, and the body of a fourth was discovered on the Mother White Bridge Spanish Town Road in West Kingston. Two others were severely wounded.

Prime Minister Holness, horrified by the murders, said the attacks represented a new kind of savagery, especially given what appeared to be the serial nature of the attacks.

“We will spare no effort in investigating the heinous and barbaric murders of these men who are among our society’s most vulnerable,” he said, adding that crime and violence continue to wreak havoc on society. The government would continue to apply pressure, using all available resources to flush out violent criminals.

“We have been working to address the problem of homelessness in Jamaica, particularly in downtown Kingston where we recently established drop-in centers. Now we must redouble our efforts to ensure that this vulnerable group is properly provided for and that there are more clean, safe, and accessible places for them,” Holness added.

The Prime Minister said the matter was discussed at length during Monday’s Cabinet meeting, particularly with Minister with responsibility for Local Government Desmond McKenzie and mayor Delroy Williams.

He said the two ministers are exploring further ways of providing service and protection, both immediate and long-term, for the homeless population.

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