KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent: – Members of warring groups from two neighbouring Kingstown communities will meet again with Commissioner of Police Keith Miller on Thursday to cement a truce brokered last week.
Residents of two Edinboro and Ottley Hall in West Kingstown can expect a respite from sporadic gang-related gunfire after the youths shared limp handshakes at the Central Police Station last week.
Media reports say that the police chief mediated a discussion between Jomo Brudy, 22, of Edinboro and Ottley Hall youths Kelroy Patterson, 21, and Junior Nash, 18.
“Let’s hope this is the beginning to get rid of the unnecessary rivalry. It is unhealthy for our communities and it needs to stop now,” Miller said after the one-hour conversation.
Miller had interceded in an attempted to get to the root of an ongoing conflict between the parties.
Nash’s mother, Patterson’s aunt, reporters and other members of the police top brass witnessed the discussion.
Amidst accusation that cops were taking sides on the matter, Commissioner Miller said there was a need to “crush this type of behaviour” and that he wanted to have a similar meeting with groups from Redemption Sharpes, a Central Kingstown community.
Patterson said that his cousin is attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and told the top cop that a “CID man” was “working with” with the Edinboro residents.
Miller spoke of the seriousness of the allegation and said that if true, it would be investigated.
After a barrage of accusations and counteraccusations, the youths said they were “ready to stop the war” if the other side had similar intentions.
They said they wanted to walk the streets without having to look over their shoulders.
During the discussion, Brudy said that he had been shot twice, including a day after giving testimony in a preliminary inquiry into the murder of fellow Ottley Hall resident Shereen Clouden.
Clouden fell during a hail of gunfire in December last year that left Brudy nursing wounds.
Brudy refused to testify during a trial relating to his latest wounding, prompting Miller to intervene.
Patterson said that he was unable to register for the new national identity cards because it was done in Edinboro near a shop where Brudy often hangs out.
The youths accused each other of having condescending attitudes to each other’s community.
“Edinboro people don’t like Ottley Hall people,” Patterson contended.
“We [Edinboro residents] can’t go [to Ottley Hall], so you can’t come,” Brudy said as he accused the Ottley Hall residents of firing an Uzi at him twice.
“And you’ aint dead?” Patterson retorted.
Miller told the youths of the possible consequences of their actions.
“As young men, you all have to stop. Somebody will suffer fatally. I don’t understand what the rivalry is for. What are you hoping to achieve?” Miller told the youth.
Miller said that the youths needed “serious counselling” and said while the conflict will be looked into, the investigation will not be a criminal one.
“It is important for us to take this proactive approach to trying to [prevent] another killing in Ottley Hall,” Miller said.
“I will be disappointed from here [on] if this problem continues,” he said.
The sit-down came two weeks after police said they had discovered in an “abandoned building” at an undisclosed location a rifle capable of discharging 700-900 rounds per minute and hitting a target 2 kilometres (1.24 miles away).
There was no immediate link between the discovery of the rifles and police efforts to quell the conflict.