(JAMAICA GLEANER) — Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has said that her office will be going after some 10 high-profile gangs in the coming months under the 2014 anti-gang legislation.
She made the disclosure while speaking last Thursday at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies public forum held under theme ‘Revisiting Jamaica’s Crime Plan’ as part of The University of the West Indies, Mona, Research Days 2019.
“When I look and I see the video recording of an ex-gangster, who [is] prepared to give evidence against his former gangsters, when they are outlining in detail their organisation, everybody – including a corrupt police officer who has been charged with them – had a role to play,” Llewellyn said.
Although this former gang member has decided to stand with prosecutors, the DPP said many Jamaicans are still not interested in helping the police, demonstrated by the culture that obtains in some communities.
“I remember I heard of a case where you have those pot of soup and you see those ladies having those delicious crab in the pots boiling and we all enjoy the corn and whatever. And I’ve heard a police officer say, ‘Ms Llewellyn, you believe that when we were searching, a gunman ran in there and he ran out and it turned out that he dropped the gun in one of the pot of soup?
“And that old lady looked at us plain and said she don’t see anything. She hasn’t heard anything. She doesn’t know what they are talking about and the gun is in the pot of soup,” the director said.
The island’s top prosecutor has urged individuals who know about crime to speak up.
“If you witness a crime, then you must be prepared to say what you know … . We are being told the court is dysfunctional, when what happens, in reality, is that if you don’t get the cooperation of the citizens who have witnessed crime, who know about it, then you will not have a successful prosecution,” Llewellyn said.
The trial of reputed gang leader Uchence Wilson and his 23 co-accused, scheduled for March 4, will be the first of the 10 gang cases to be prosecuted.