‘We’re going to find him’

Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang offers words of encouragement to students at Grange Hill High School during a visit on Friday. Photo: Kimberley Peddie

GRANGE HILL, Westmoreland – A tough-talking National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, promised on Friday that police will track down the killer of a schoolboy who was shot just yards from his school in Grange Hill last Thursday.

“We will relentlessly pursue the perpetrator – whether he is young or old. We’re going to find him and we’re going to remove him from the community,” said Dr. Chang to the community Jamaican observer while visiting Grange Hill High School.

“The police will put relentless pressure on the criminals. “We have accurate information… that (the killer) comes from an area called the King’s Valley, and we know we have a crew up there called the King’s Valley gang,” he added.

Dr. Chang was part of a team that visited the school in the aftermath of the murder of 16-year-old Carson Barrett. The teenager was shot dead as he walked home after sports day. A 15-year-old girl walking with him was also shot and wounded during the attack. Minister Chang said he and the team thought it best to visit and reassure both people at the school and the wider Grange Hill community.

Among those who spoke to students on Friday was Police Commissioner Dr. Kevin Blake, who vowed to root out criminal elements to protect students inside and outside school hallways. He acknowledged that Grange Hill High is in a volatile community.

“The school is located in an environment and is not separate from the environment. While we can take care of you within the confines of the school, we must ensure that the threat that exists outside is addressed,” the top cop stressed.

“I can assure you that you will not make this journey alone,” he reassured the students.

Commissioner Blake said the police know who the perpetrators are.

“We will do everything in our power to remove them,” he assured.

He also encouraged the students to desist from a life of crime and embrace education.

“You are the future; don’t get drawn into crime. Stay away from crime, criminality and gangsterism. It’s not cool,” Blake insisted.

School board chairman Samuel Williams looks forward to the day when the institution is no longer threatened.

“I hope that one day Grange Hill High School will emerge victorious over all the negative things that are happening. The Grange Hill community and its surroundings, I implore you all to think of the future and what we have as a legacy here at this institution. Let us not break the partnership with God,” he urged.

“I hope the youth will put down their weapons, think differently and think positively, and trust God,” Williams pleaded.