Community Focus: Stay away! - Kilmarnock residents warns criminals
The people of Kilmarnock are sending strong warnings that they will not allow wanted men or criminals fleeing from St James in the wake of the state of public emergency to seek refuge in their community.
In January, residents from the quiet farming district joined with the security forces to drive out a number of gangsters, said to be members of the Ratty gang, who sought haven in the hills surrounding the area.
The operation led to a shoot-out, where one man was shot and killed and a 16-year-old boy, who was in police custody, was hospitalised. A third man reportedly escaped during the incident.
The people told the WESTERN STAR that this will be the fate of anyone who comes in and tries to disrupt the peace in their community.
"We don't want no man come mash up the community, and we don't try to make no wrongdoer come up here," said Derrick Smith. "In this community, you won't see a young man a hang out on the street a crush out them hand middle. Everybody gone a them field or gone a work."
"So if a man come up here, if him no change, he has to leave out, and from the man wanted then the police a come for him, we a make sure of that," he added.
The people outlined that their community is one built upon discipline and trust where news travels fast once danger is around.
They noted that this was the very reason the security forces were willing to have residents work with them in weeding out the criminals.
"If it wasn't for the citizens, then those men would have got away," said Dorothy Watson. "Everybody worked with the soldiers and police, and we were in the hills and everywhere with them. They (security forces) even commended the people because we don't put up with slackness up here. The district may not be the best place, but it is disciplined. Everybody believes in it and we are together up here."