MAY PEN, Clarendon — A permanent police post was yesterday set up at the May Pen Hospital, hours after gunmen invaded the facility and shot one of its patients dead.
Thirty-seven-year-old Adiff Washington was shot in the face several times as he slept.
He was admitted to the facility for treatment on Sunday, after being shot seven times by gunmen while returning home from the Milk River Police Station, where he was due to report on condition of his bail.
A police source told the Jamaica Observer that he was facing murder and kidnapping charges.
The Observer understands that two armed men went to the hospital minutes after 12 Tuesday morning and held up the security guard at the entrance to the male surgical ward, where Washington was a patient.
While one of the men stood guard, the other then shot Washington — who was sleeping — four times before escaping.
No one else was hurt in the incident, which sources told the Observer has left the security guard, other members of staff and patients in shock.
The police have begun their investigations.
Yesterday, the Police High Command said the decision to establish the police post followed a meeting between the hospital management and a team of police officers, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds.
"Coming out of the meeting the police have announced that with immediate effect, a police post will be established at the hospital to operate on a 24-hour basis," the high command said in a release yesterday, noting .
"The police will also be making representation for a perimeter wall to be built around the hospital to prevent easy and unfettered access to the compound. They will also partner with the private security employed to the hospital to improve security at the facility," the release stated.
Added to that, the high command announced that the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) had been "tasked to do a risk assessment on every patient admitted to all public hospitals in Jamaica with gunshot wounds; with a view of briefing local police and private security firms employed by the hospital so that pre-emptive measures can be taken if necessary and this will become a standard operating" procedure".
Meanwhile, the incident has been condemned by Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson.
"I strongly condemn this act of violence in one of our facilities where patients and staff should feel safe while accessing and providing care and support. I hope the perpetrators of this heinous act will swiftly be brought to justice. I implore persons to co-operate fully with the police in their investigation of the matter," the minister said.
He said that a counselling station has been set up at the hospital to facilitate staff and patients.
He said mental health officers, psychologists, psychiatrists, religious leaders and members of the police unit have been providing assistance to staff and patients.
"I thank the health workers who continuously have to work in very difficult circumstances. I implore you to take heart and remain steadfast as we show the criminals that they cannot win and they cannot get the best of us," Dr Ferguson said.