Jeremiah’s killer(s) sought

TOPjeremiahLEAD

Police conducted road checks Monday
night near Hell service station seeking potential witnesses in the shooting
death of four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes.

The checks coincided with a sombre candlelight
vigil for the boy, held at the West Bay playfield across the road from the gas
station.

Teams of detectives and uniformed
officers stopped vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in the area to find out if
they had any information that could be relevant to the enquiry.

Police said the road checks were
carried out in full consultation with the victim’s family.

At the vigil – which had a notable
police presence –  more than 100 family
members, friends and supporters, many wearing white shirts bearing Jeremiah’s photograph,
listened to prayers, readings and songs leading up to the lighting of the first
candle by Jeremiah’s mother Dorlisa Ebanks.

Amid the sorrow, those in
attendance applauded the message from speakers including Angelita McLean and
Pastor Felix Manzanares urging all Cayman residents to unify against crime and
violence.

Royal Cayman Islands Police Chief
Inspector Peter Kennett, who is in charge of the enquiry into Jeremiah’s death,
attended the vigil. Mr. Kennett said in the one-hour traffic operation the
police spoke to 69 people.

He also thanked the people who had
come forward in recent days with information.

 “Since our last appeal for witnesses a number
of people have been in contact with the enquiry team,” he said.

“I would like to thank those individuals
for coming forward. I believe that we are now making significant progress in
this enquiry and, like everyone else involved in this investigation, I am
absolutely determined to bring this enquiry to a successful conclusion for
Jeremiah’s family.”

Royal Cayman Islands Police
arrested four people in connection with their enquiry, although no charges have
been laid.  One of four has been released from police custody.

RCIPS officials declined to name
the man, and only said that he was not released on police bail and not being
held on any charges – which essentially means he’s free to go. 

Police sources told the Caymanian
Compass that two men arrested immediately after the Monday, 15 February,
shooting remained in custody. Legally, authorities in the Cayman
Islands are allowed to hold individuals up to 12 days without
filing criminal charges against them.

Two other people were arrested
afterward in connection with the case. No one has been charged in Jeremiah’s
killing.

The four-year-old was shot in the
face inside his father’s car at the Hell Esso gas station just after 8pm on the
15th. Investigators believe the incident showed signs of being a
retaliatory shooting, but have declined to identify the target.

Jeremiah’s death was the second
homicide recorded in the Cayman this year.

Anyone who has any information that
could assist the enquiry team should contact the murder incident room at West
Bay police station either by calling the team direct on 926-1773, or by calling
the station on 949-3999 and asking to be transferred to the enquiry team.

Alternatively call Crime Stoppers
on 800-8477 (TIPS).

TOPjeremiahSTORY

Participants light candles at the vigil held for Jeremiah Barnes on Monday night.
Photo: Basia Pioro McGuire

1 COMMENT

  1. It is sad to see that our beloved island is becoming like other places with high crime statitics. We have seen some of this in Jamaica and other places around. Low crime has been one of Cayman’s drawing cards, but that is already being history. Soon tourism will be down or gone, and investors will leave as no one wants to live or be in a place where crime is on the increase and even children are being shot! A major problem is that people are afraid to speak up, so the island is held in hostage to a few despicable, terrorists who rule as though they are the kings. Take an example from some of the Middle Eastern countries with their punishments that are a great deterrent to crime. Even another island like Singapore still gives caning for things far lighter than robberies and murder. Now that capital punishment is no longer allowed, the murderers look forward to Northward’s free food, clothing, accomodation and entertainment. It’s far easier to live off the system for life than work hard each day. Why doesn’t Cayman Government send these criminals to England, since they won’t allow us to govern in a way that is a strong deterrent to criminals? We would just be following what England did to their criminals hundreds of years ago when they shipped them off.

    Why doesn’t the judicial system think about the victims? Why can’t there also be some actual punishment, even hard whippings, for people who murder innocent people? These areas need to be on the front burner of dicussion and lessons taken from places where crime rates are low.

    In the case of little Jeremiah, West Bay people and others know who the killer is. There was immediate explanations of retaliation being the cause heard in offices and around the place. It is imperative that witnesses or people who have evidence, know who the killers are, can be PROTECTED. They have to be able to speak up without fear of retaliation. This is just an island and people are afraid and so although this little boy has died, they will not speak. Why not have information given in private to the superintent of police, judges and other trusted people. Witnesses can have their voices distorted so that they cannot be recognized.

    Even in cases where juries have to sit, many times they are afraid on this island to give a guilty verdict as they know the criminals they face in the courtroom may single them or their families out as the next victims. Even in the drug cases, people fear retaliation.

    Government Ministers, unless stringent deterrents are brought in, unless witnesses can speak without fear of reprisal, unless juries can state their opinion without fear of backlash,this island will become like other places where gangs run wild, guns are the norm and police are crippled knowing that when they arrest someone(s) they’ll be back on the street when lawyers say – no evidence. Some of these lawyers themselves haven’t experienced any criminal activity happen to their family or they would not be so happy to fight for criminals – money to them is so important.

    Bring in more detectives from Scotland Yard or the USA, do whatever needs to be done, but murderers must be caught, convicted and punished. Cayman needs to find some island away from other people and put these people on it. Just like England sent their prisoners to Australia many years ago.

    There are no easy answers since people no longer follow the Good Book and the Commandments, but this island will be totally ruined unless something is done to break-up the gangs, stop the petty crimes, and deal with the murderers.

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