Rise in Crime A Cause for Concern Among Mandeville Residents

Several residents of Mandeville and surrounding areas have become more concerned about their safety due to the rise in criminal activity in recent months.

Mandeville and its environs are viewed by many as usually peaceful areas, but there has been an increase in the occurrence of break-ins, robberies and shootings as the festive season approaches.

A parent who has a child who attends Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Early Childhood Division, said that they tried to break into her apartment on deCarteret Road a few weeks ago. She said, “It was after two in the morning, when I heard someone trying to pry open the bathroom window. I quickly got up and turned on the outside light and by the time I was ready to call the police the thief was gone.” She said that since then she has been searching for a new apartment as she is fearful that the perpetrators might come to her home again.

deCarteret Road at Nights

Leroy Parker, who also lives on deCarteret Road and who oftentimes travels to the town by foot, said that he has become very concerned about his safety especially after the shooting of 44-year-old construction worker, Kenroy Montaque and 45-year-old carpenter Aaron McGeochy on the same road last month. He said, “Since the shooting I make sure that I walk home from Mandeville as early as possible because it gets dark very early…I don’t want to end up in the same situation.” Parker also said he is very wary of robbers and expressed that there have been a few instances where he has been forced to take a taxi because he was afraid.

deCarteret Road is just one of the many areas being affected by the rise in criminal activity.

Communities especially surrounding the local university, NCU, such as Knockpatrick, Newport, Cedar Grove, Cedar Gardens and Waltham have been affected by this rise in crime. There were numerous reports of students of the university being held up and robbed of their belongings. A female student in particular was reportedly held up, robbed and stabbed several times.

Third year student of NCU, Daniel Nicholas has been living in the community of Knockpatrick for the past 2 years. He said that since he has lived there it is obvious that crime in the area goes up when it comes around to the yuletide season. He said, “When Christmas time is coming, I have to be extra careful because the thieves lay wait you in an attempt to rob you.”

These sentiments were reiterated by Alex Brown who is also a student at NCU. He went on to add that “sometimes I pay the taxi extra to bring me right to my gate because I don’t want to risk getting robbed.” He also said that where he lives the streets lights are on now and then off the next and so this creates a camouflage for the criminals who tend to hide in the bushes.

With all this happening in Mandeville and surrounding areas, residents are wondering what is being done by the police to battle this rise in crime.


Police Make Efforts to Stop Crime During the Yuletide Season

Efforts are being made by the Mandeville police to battle the rise in crime that has been evident in the town and its environs since the start of the yuletide season this year.

The rise in criminal activity being observed in Mandeville at this time is no anomaly, as this is a trend that occurs every year.

Detective Corporal Jean Miller of the Area 3 division said that “In an effort to combat crime, we [the Mandeville police] have ramped up our efforts in community policing and so have assigned a patrol car to every community.” She said that this assures resident of their safety as this enables quick response from the police. She went on to say that residents can contact their community patrol officers rather than the

Mandeville police station.

Photo of the Mandeville Police Station

Karae Brown, resident of the Woodlawn housing scheme acknowledged the presence of police patrol in her community. When asked if she felt afraid, especially considering the fatal shooting of a man in the nearby community of Richmond, she said, “Well kinda but am not feeling fearful really as Richmond is not really exactly where I live and the entire area is under police patrol.”

Head of Mandeville Police, Superintendent Melvin Brown

In addition to police patrol, a massive operation was carried out by the Mandeville police in collaboration with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) in the town of Mandeville on Friday, December 12 in an effort to battle the perceived rise in crime. Head of Police in Manchester, Superintendent Melvin Brown said that, “We want to do our best to bring a sense of calm and comfort to people ahead of Christmas.” He also added that he aims to disrupt criminal activities by whatever means necessary.

There has also been a noticeably greater number of police personnel in and around the town since the start of the festive season. Police have been mobilized in areas such as the market and other crowded shopping areas like Regency Centre and Willogate, bus parks and taxi parks. Police officers are always seen stationed in areas where ATMs are present. At the Regency Centre in particular, the police can be observed questioning individuals who are are deemed as suspicious.

A street vendor known by her first name Marv who has her stall in the Christiana bus park said, “Police deh all bout inna Mandeville ‘an every minute me haffi a run with me goods.” She also indicated that although it was exhausting constantly looking out for police, she felt safe knowing that they were around especially during this busy season.  .

Another vendor who sells phone cards on the corner of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Johnson’s Pharmacy also reiterated the presence of police on the road. She said, “Police are always out here in the town centre. Them always pulling over people and searching people who they think do things.”

Police began their efforts at the start of the yuletide season at November 1 and will continue to the end of the season to January 2, 2015.


Information and Communication Technology (ICT)/ Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to provide hundreds of jobs to residents of Manchester

He gets to work early in the morning, signs in, heads to his cubicle, sits down and waits for the phone to ring. Finally, the phone rings and he answers, “Good day, you’ve reached… How may I help you?” He goes on to help the caller and moments later he ends, “Thank you for calling…have a good day.” This routine is that of Jevorn Daley, employee at Southerland Global Services located on the Mona campus of the University of West Indies in Kingston. This is a routine that is familiar to many persons who work at an Information and Communication Technology (ICT)/ Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre in Jamaica.

ICT is similar to Information Technology (IT), but it focuses primarily on communication technologies and chiefly refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications, while Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the contracting of a specific business task, such as payroll, to a third-party service provider. In Jamaica, when people refer to ICT, they are usually referring to a Business Process Outsourcing company that uses ICT to carry out their various tasks.

Photo of the ICT centre being constructed on Ward Avenue in Mandeville.

There are several such centres in Jamaica and currently there is one being constructed on Ward Avenue in Mandeville, Manchester and it is said that this will help to not only boost the Mandeville economy by creating employment, but also will help to stimulate growth in the Jamaican ICT/BPO sector.

Freezone Mobday
Photo of Montego Bay Freezone Company Limited (source: MBFZ website)

These centres are found mostly in areas such as Kingston and the Freezone of Montego Bay.They have benefited from the establishment of these centres by creating job opportunities for locals and by creating an environment where ICT based businesses can flourish. This environment helps to attract foreign  investment to the local ICT sector, since many of the businesses that utilize ICT services in Jamaica are based overseas. Consequently, this helps the sector to earn large amounts of foreign exchange for the local economy. Montego Bay alone has several ICT centres set up in the Freezone area and currently they employ in excess of 1000 individuals.

That level of employment and more is expected for Mandeville when the ICT centre is complete. Member of Parliament for central Manchester, Peter Bunting says he expects that “hundreds if not thousands” to be employed at the centre when the project is complete. The centre could also provide part time employment for students of tertiary institutions that are located in or close to Mandeville as seen on UWI Mona campus, especially in light of the fact that Sutherland Global Services are the fore runners for start-up of the ICT business at the new centre.

Photo of Dr. Michael Reid, Vice President of Technology at NCU (source: NCU website)

Dr Michael Reid, Vice President of Technology at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) believes that the establishment of this ICT centre would spur growth in the use of information and communication technologies. He said, “When you look at the landscape in Mandeville, there isn’t much happening in ICT. There is only NCU.” Because there is little to no ICT development in Mandeville, he believes that the ICT centre will help promote ICT jobs and training. He also said that this would boost the Mandeville economy and further encourage ICT development not only in Jamaica, but also in the region.

Resident of Manchester, Fiona Worgs, said that the establishment of this centre is very encouraging because of the jobs that it will create. She thinks that this will create opportunities, especially for individuals who are currently unemployed. Worgs said, “I think the centre is a good thing because…it can create jobs for people who is not working”. She also expressed that her son, who is 18, is also in need of a job and so he may be able to be employed at the centre.

Since residents of Mandeville are being made aware of the construction of this centre, many of them who are currently unemployed may be thinking about applying for jobs there. Yanikie Mahoney, who recently graduated from the National College of Professional Studies with a certificate in health care assistance, said that she has not been able to get a job in her field. She said, “Since I left school I haven’t been able to work so I think I may be able to get a job at the new place they are building.”

The establishment of the ICT centre is hoped to provide hundreds of jobs for the people of Mandeville. If what is happening, particularly in Montego Bay, is any indication of what will happen in Mandeville, then the people of Mandeville can expect increased employment opportunities and economic growth in the years to come.