It appears that criminals are getting out of control and actually in control of certain areas and the authorities are either turning a blind eye or are not aware of these cases. Reports are that various extortion rackets are being run in the highly commercial district of Spanish Town, with the main targets being the Chinese business populations.

It is estimated that these extortion rackets are collecting as much as $1.5 million per day, and of course this is affecting the availability of the jobs in the area as the business community has warned that hundreds of persons could lose their jobs if the problem is not dealt with by the relevant authorities, as said by Dennis Robotham, president of the St Catherine Chamber of Commerce. Robotham also made mention of a recent private meeting which was held with members of the commercial community, senior police officers and the National Security Minister, Peter Bunting.

He said Bunting encourage business operators to install surveillance cameras in their establishments, and subsequently promised that a police post would be re-opened at the bus park in July.

This will assist authorities with rounding up the culprits as persons a fearful to come forward with information. Investigations have revealed that the buses that use the park are required to pay $1,100 per day to the extortionists plus the unknown amount that taxi drivers are to pay.

As such is it estimated that based on the number of buses that use the park daily, all of the monies added up is an estimated $1.5 mil. Authorities currently have a number of persons on a watch list, including six (6) wealthy, high-profile persons who are believed to be providing financial support for the extortionists. They are being surveyed under the Proceeds of Crime Act as authorities plan to seize all assets that are acquired illegally. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Meveral Smith, believes that the racket is being run by members of the now separated Clansman gang. It is being suggested that one side, whose leader is incarcerated, has the majority of the firepower but not enough men. While the other side, whose leader is locked up in Jamaica, has the majority of manpower but not enough guns.

It is believed that based on the size of the Clansman gang, the extortion racket is able to stretch from Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, to sections of Portmore and elsewhere in St Catherine. DSP Smith is asking persons with information relating to the extortion racket to call him at 824-0964.


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