Community watch at Sharpes alive and well
August 31, 2010
Community watch at Sharpes alive and well

Commissioner of Police Keith Miller has expressed that he is not disillusioned by the shooting deaths that took place during the first year of the establishment of a community watch group at Redemption Sharpes.{{more}}

Miller in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday, August 28, said that the violent deaths of young men in the area, had not daunted the the Concerned Citizens of Redemption Sharpes and its Environs on its peace keeping drive.

Two men from the community have been killed since the formation of the group in August 2009.

Forty-five year old Randolph Johnson, also known as Copper, died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head as he crossed the Redemption Sharpes playing field on April 18.

Two months later on June 18, 22-year-old Rocks’ resident Esron Ells also known as ‘Ezzie and Banks’ was gunned down in Richmond Hill, Kingstown, while trying to evade assailants.

Miller said that these killings have not prevented the community group from working towards peace in the area.

“We have not been deterred. In fact we attended those two funerals for ‘Copper’ and Esron Ells, and the pastors gave me an opportunity to talk at the funeral services and I spoke out loudly against the acts of criminality.”

Miller applauded the group, for partnering with the police on a number of community initiatives, which he indicated was a proactive and preventative approach to policing rather than being reactive.

“We are not saying that it is only on our efforts,” said Miller, adding that the group members’ efforts whether individually or as a group have achieved a lot.

“We do not want to be just a police force to wait until something happens to respond; we would rather come out and advise people not to get involved,” said Miller.

The top cop indicated that during the Concerned Citizens of Redemption Sharpes and its Environs week of activities, which culminated in a rally at the community’s playing field on Sunday, the committee had visited a number of volatile areas and has made plans to continue to do so in the weeks and months to come.

He said that they discovered that the ‘men on the block’ are not necessarily hostile; there is just the need for them to feel a sense of belonging.

“They need to be identified with something else other than some bad influence that they may have acquired somewhere along. There is the need to feel a sense of purpose; they need to develop their interpersonal relations,” said Miller.

Miller added that the youngsters may also have a low self esteem, but if they were to associate and interact with positive people, they can make changes and “come around”.

“One killing is a cause of concern for us, but you cannot be deterred when you meet hurdles. There will be barriers and distractions,” said Miller. (JJ)