At least 10 people were killed in separate incidents here and National Security Minister Peter Bunting said that law enforcement authorities were continuing their efforts to deal with the escalating crime situation.
Bunting visited the August Town community on Sunday in the wake of the early-morning killings, which reportedly resulted from a gun battle between rival gangs in the community.
“I don’t want this weekend’s murders to set back in any way all the effort that has gone into bringing August Town to where it is today.
“I sympathise and understand the hurt and frustration, but we cannot give up on the peace process. We recognise that it can be a setback, but the residents have to hold on to what they have achieved over the years.”
A 2008 peace treaty between ruling factions from the five districts in August Town had put an end to a violent, bloody era and the authorities said that several peace initiatives have helped to drastically reduce the crime with a reduction in murders over the past two years.
“I encourage those who have been working with the PMI (Peace Management Initiative), community development committee and other entities to overcome this and to understand that if they don’t want to return to those days, they have to keep working at it and ensure that it doesn’t gather any momentum. They are not to be concerned with any retaliation, just allow the police to do their investigations, pursue the criminals and bring them to justice,” said Bunting.
He said that a number of initiatives would be put in place to protect the community from further attacks from the gunmen, as well as increased efforts to bring them to justice.
“I’m just asking the residents to have faith and don’t come off the track that they have been on,” he stressed.
Last year, 1,124 people were killed here, with the Gleaner Newspaper indicating that the month-to-date murder rate compared with last year is reportedly at the same figures with 89 in the month of June.