a Fight over Caymanas river St Catherine entrance money triggers six men murders

Fighting river-entry money causes six murders

A battle over money paid to swim in St Catherine's common Caymanas River is said to be at the heart of killing six men in Caymanas Bay community within 72 hours.

Caymanas river St Catherine
Caymanas river St Catherine

The Central Village police are warning the public to avoid the attraction because they could fear being robbed by criminals.

"What I want the general public to understand is that with this fighting going on, it's not safe for them to come and they might happen to be victims of robbery because if they come around here and there's no mineral proceeds for them [criminals], they can prey on them," Deputy Police Superintendent Michael Campbell told Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.

"We've maintained a presence, we've had police resources from yesterday [Tuesday]," Campbell said.

Tuesday started on a bloody note, as gunshots awakened residents around 5:30 am.

They found Stephen Bennett, otherwise named Bad, with gunshot wounds. He later succumbed to injuries.

As residents were about to sleep late Tuesday, around 10:10pm, another round of gunshots echoed through the neighborhood.

Early Wednesday morning, four men's bodies were found at a river-side house. Two men known as Bobby and Jerry. The Observer was told, however, that the other two men aren't culture.

Police told the Observer that two of the four men killed Tuesday night were involved in Bennett's murder.

On Sunday, the community also shot dead a man known as "Warrior."

According to Deputy Superintendent Campbell, for some time, sporadic abuse shook the city.

"Over the years, we've had some issues with this culture. It was a tit for tat scenario. There's been some [river] battle. What we're seeing now is people competing for so-called spoils, benefiting from the [river]. The income can not be shared as they want it, or people want more than they get," Campbell explained.

Adults and children are paid $300 and $100 respectively to swim in the river.

Album producer Cleon "Mineral Boss" Jones, 37, was shot dead on Caymanas Estate Road in St Catherine. Jones was the man in charge of collecting money paid to use the canal.

"This [river] yu looking behind me generates some income, and people are always fighting for spoils," Campbell said, adding that the river was closed last year after Jones' murder and other neighborhood shootings.

He said although patrolling the hilly terrain is difficult, police will maintain a neighborhood presence to protect law-abiding residents.

"I'm talking to you now and a group of guys might look at us somewhere in the hill saying 'dah police deh a chat to dah oman deh, watch me and him when he duns,' so we have that disadvantage," he explained.

He also encouraged people to cooperate with police.

"This country's citizens must recognize that there is only one benefit that can be derived from remaining silent when it comes to crime, and that allows crime to strive," Campbell said.

"There's no outsider here and sadly, some of the victims are close relatives. So if they stay quiet, it only encourages the perpetrators to go and cause mayhem, kill with impunity. Nobody will come forward because everybody fears losing their lives. The only choice is 'officer, mi a step out.' They're not asking you that Mr Campbell is doing anything or writing something so the police should take Mr Campbell to court," he lamented.

Day at the beach and caymanas river in Jamaica