St Thomas resident appeals to Popcaan not to abandon parish

A St Thomas resident has appealed to entertainer Popcaan not to abandon the parish after he posted on Twitter that he would not be returning there because he was being unfairly targeted by the police.

Popcaan, whose given name is Andre Sutherland, took to the social media platform on Monday to vent, after he was slapped with multiple charges for traffic violations. It is reported that the police stopped Popcaan and his entourage in Bath in the parish and charged him with driving an unlicensed motorcycle, driving without insurance coverage, not having a valid fitness certificate or registrations plates. He was also booked for driving without a helmet, driving with no side-view mirror and not producing a driver’s licence upon a request by the police. He is expected to appear before the Yallahs Traffic Court on June 3.

In his social media post, the entertainer wrote, “Why am I being targeted by St Thomas police? In every move I make!! Me really tired a unu, and me ago just breeze St Thomas for my own good, hope my people will see things from my side. Peace and love.”

Allison Byfield, superintendent of police in charge of St Thomas, however, said she had no knowledge of police in the parish targeting the entertainer and said it mattered not who it was, pointing out that the necessary action will be taken by lawmen once the laws of the land are breached.

Said Byfield: “The inspector who prosecuted him did not even know who the person was. That’s what he said. He gave his name as Andre Sutherland and later on during processing someone said that he was Popcaan, but that didn’t matter whether he was Popcaan or not. He committed a road traffic offence and he was prosecuted. I don’t know of the police in St Thomas taking a set on Mr Andre Sutherland. He is a regular visitor to the parish and we are expecting him to abide by the laws, just like any other person who comes into the parish.”

According to Allana Davis, a 23-year-old resident of Sunning Hill District in St Thomas, not having the entertainer around mean that numerous social and infrastructural projects being led by the artiste could be discontinued. She appealed to the police that if Sutherland’s claims of harassment are true, they should desist from ‘terrorising’ him, for the greater good of the people of St Thomas.

“First thing’s first; there is basically no road in St Thomas. He took it up on himself, bought a tractor with his own personal and he rallied persons in communities to do a lot of roadwork. Persons going to the river in Bath usually have to park their car on the main road and then walk. Now, you drive straight up to the river and your car is right in your eyesight. Mind you, men are working for the entire day and you have to feed them and give them something inna dem pocket.

“He even pays persons to clean the rivers so when outsiders come into the parish they don’t have a bad experience. You would have probably heard about his back-to-school treat which thousands of kids benefit from; it is always kept in Morant Bay. Under the Popcaan Care Foundation, he has assisted several students with school tuition, books and other necessities, school wise. [But] if he doesn’t come back to St Thomas it is not going to be a good thing. He has been the ‘enlightenment’ for many of the rural communities. When I was younger certain things we would not seen and experienced. Gone are those days because he is the person who will bring all these international stars into St Thomas,” said the St Thomas resident.

“I didn’t know I would get a chance to interact with Davido. All of those international persons come into the communities and young people are able to have conversations with them. On top of that, he actually motivates the youths. They are able to see that he is just a regular person like us and he was able to become successful. Shopkeepers have testified that whenever Popcaan is here that is the time they sell and make money. That’s the time goods just ‘disappear’ off the shelves. He could get persons from Kingston to get persons to work at the Unruly Fest stage show, but he didn’t do that. He used the local persons from in the parish to bring off the event. He has been providing and is still providing on so many levels,” she added.

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