Street person’s death spoils peaceful weekend in the west

MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Area One Police here said that Saturday night’s fight between two homeless men in Montego Bay, which ended with one being fatally stabbed, was the only major incident to mar the first of the three weekend lockdowns imposed by the Government to curb the spread of the novel coronvirus.

The Area One Police Division covers the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.

The accused, who is believed to be mentally challenged, has since been taken into police custody.

“It is just unfortunate that we had a murder on the ground during the lockdown. And, unfortunately, it was a street person who assaulted another street person with a knife and it ended up in a fatality. But this is being investigated. The accused man is in custody,” assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in charge of Area One, Clifford Chambers, told the Jamaica Observer.

“From all observations” he (accused) is not of a sound mind. That, however, is yet to be determined.”

The incident reportedly took place along a public thoroughfare in Montego Bay where the street people gathered.

He noted that the police remain vigilant to arrest criminals across the four parishes.

“The police are keeping active in the space to ensure that persons don’t use this opportunity to launch any community when they know that persons are at home,” said ACP Chambers.

He noted that there has been a high percentage of compliance to the latest restrictions by citizens across the four parishes.

He, however, revealed that on Friday afternoon there were reports of major traffic congestion in the main towns and lone city across the four parishes in the Area One Police Division. The city of Montego Bay was the most affected, the senior cop revealed.

This, he theorised, stemmed from a misinterpretation that the lockdown was at noon which was actually closure time of public establishments to allow employees to shop.

He was relieved that the congestion eased after about two hours.

Everything worked as planned except for Friday. All the town capitals, based on expected crowd, were congested after noon but it ran off quicker than I anticipated. Based on that we were seeing on or about 12:30, 1:00. The hardest hit was the Charles Gordon Market area in Montego Bay, but that too ran off after a certain time,” he argued.

“People just have to be mindful that the closure just meant that businesses should close to give the employees the opportunity to shop. So, it was really, really congested between 12 noon and 3:00 pm, whether people were shopping or whether people were probably trying to get off the street believing that the curfew started at 12:00 midday. But from about 3:30 onwards it was smooth sailing across all of the parishes.”

He said individuals who were authorised to move during the lockdown were allowed by the police.

“The level of supervision we had on the ground where persons who understood what to look for and to give persons the necessary discretion. It was really good. Persons who were going to church were facilitated, the 12 or less, that was facilitated; people who work in the tourism industry were facilitated, based on the exemption; people who were travelling what we asked for was that they have a copy of the itinerary and they complied,” the head honcho of the Area One Police Division stated.

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