MONTEGO BAY, St James — Empty streets characterised communities in Trelawny, St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland — the four parishes that make up the Area One Police Division — on Wednesday night, the first of the seven-night islandwide curfews imposed by the Government to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
The measure started Wednesday night and will continue until April 8, starting at 8:00 pm each evening and ending at 6:00 am the following day.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer yesterday, commander for the Westmoreland Police Division, Superintendent Robert Gordon, noted that the obedience level of residents was extremely high.
“[Wednesday] night’s compliance was about 99.9 per cent, based on where I covered in Savanna-la-Mar and the reports that came in to me,” Superintendent Gordon said.
He argued that the curfew hours were so well communicated that only one man claimed he was not aware of it.
“The people who we engaged, except for one man, they knew of it (curfew),” he said. “There were few people who were out at about 8:30 pm, but they all had reasonable explanations as to why they were where they were at the time.”
Superintendent in charge of the Hanover Police Division, Sharon Beeput, also argued that the first night of the curfew in the parish was a success.
“The compliance was very, very good. There were no glitches. Everything went well. All business operators locked up their business establishments,” Superintendent Beeput stated.
Commanding officer for the Trelawny Police Division, Superintendent Kirk Ricketts, commended the residents of the parish for their cooperation and implored them to be consistent throughout the seven-day period.
“I am very happy with the cooperation we had from the residents of the parish; really, really happy. We had no problems in keeping the streets empty. Every now and again we had to tell persons to return to their place of abode, but they complied without any hassle. The police officers were out in their numbers and the military came through, so we are really happy and we hope to continue this for the period that the Government would have declared,” Superintendent Ricketts said.
Head of the St James Police Division, Superintendent Vernon Ellis, was equally comfortable with the response of the residents.
“We got off to a smooth start; everybody did what they were supposed to do. The places were locked down, we never had any major issue, as such,” Superintendent Ellis told the Observer.
“We had a high number of police and soldiers to maintain the compliance level here,” he said.
The four divisional commanders gave kudos to members of the Jamaica Defence Force, with whom they partnered during the lockdown. There were no reports of arrests.
Superintendent Ricketts pointed out that checkpoints were set up at the entrances to and exits from Falmouth.
“We had checkpoints at the ingress and egress and we intend to continue that. I want to encourage the residents of the parish to continue to cooperate with the Government and continue to cooperate with the State agents, because this is for their own good,” Superintendent Ricketts said.
A state of public emergency is in effect in the parishes of St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
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