Posted: Friday, December 31, 2021. 5:15 pm CST.
IV. Crime and Judiciary
After a relatively easy 2021, murders shot back up again in 2022. The estimated murder count for the year up to this writing is 122, down compared to the previous non-pandemic years but well above last year’s total.
Adding to the deaths of Hilberto Caliz and Eugenio Teyul are those of Zi Hui He, Deron Hernandez, Steve Patten, Namid Mesh, and Angel Gongora.
Major crime on a whole appears to be down except for increases in burglaries and robberies. But the year was defined by several larger-than-life incidents.
The first of these took place at the end of May when Police Senior Superintendent Henry Jemmott was suddenly shot dead at a pier in San Pedro Town. His accused killer, Jasmine Hartin, a socialite, and former partner to Ashcroft scion Andrew, was thrust into a national and international media maelstrom after being charged with manslaughter by negligence, and subsequently separately charged with possession of a minute amount of crack cocaine and common assault after an attempt to see her two children escalated into a confrontation with a hotel worker. Her case is still before the courts at press time.
In July, there was tragedy in Placencia when Laddie Gillett was fatally shot while apparently running away from police who had been searching for alleged troublemakers as he and his friends were coming home from a night out. His was one of nearly a dozen incidents in which youth were killed this year.
There was no shortage of headaches for Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, high and low. There was the spectacular coming apart of the Commander Operations Strike Team (COST) in November after several of its members were allegedly found in the vicinity of separate drug planes landing on the Southern Highway at Bladen and in the Mountain Pine Ridge; the aforementioned Laddie Gillett incident and other instances of police behaving badly; the headaches over vaccine and COVID enforcement internally and externally among others. Nonetheless, he was able to celebrate the arrival of 220 new officers in December that are the spear point of the new approach to fighting crime piloted by Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa and his CEO, Kevin Arthurs.
The judiciary saw several reforms made to it at multiple levels but still struggles to address staffing and other issues as COVID took its toll, however, there are reports that multiple judges will be brought in to clear the backlog of cases in 2022.
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