'It grieves me'

DPP hurt by recent mayhem in Grange Hill, which left seven dead, 10 injured

Director of Public
Paula Llewellyn

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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SHEFFIELD, Westmoreland — Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, is grieving for the victims of the much-publicised shootings in the rural district of Grange, Westmoreland, in May, which left seven people dead, including two children, and another 10 injured, and a community traumatised.

“It grieves me. As much as I have prosecuted so many awful murder cases, I am still a human being. I have a broad back, but that, to me, is so unacceptable. It means that the entire community is traumatised. It means that the very police themselves are traumatised,” expressed Llewellyn during her address at the Rotary Club of Savanna-la-Mar's 49th installation and awards banquet at the Negril Hills Golf Club in the parish on Sunday.

Following the incident, several persons were taken into custody for questioning in connection with the various incidents in the usually peaceful community.

But, according to police commanding officer for the parish Superintendent Gary McKenzie, they have since been released.

He told the Jamaica Observer West that the police are continuing their investigation, adding that calm has since been restored to the Grange Hill community.

On Sunday, Llewellyn argued that while it is fairly easy for the police to receive information before leaving a crime scene, or by the end of the day, persons willing to give statements can be very challenging at times.

“Too often a lot of persons sit down in their armchairs saying 'what is the police doing?”

“Where crime is concerned, I ask each and every one of you 'how many of you are willing to be the one to stand up, to make things happen when it comes to jury duty, when it comes to giving evidence, or giving a statement?” she asked, adding that “it takes everyone working together to fight crime”.

“Even if it is that you don't wish to give a statement, at least even call the superintendent of police if you see strange people in your community who clearly look as if they are up to no good. Call the superintendent and let the police be aware so that they can do what they need to do within the context of the law,” Llewellyn urged.

She told the gathering that she made every effort to be in the parish of Westmoreland on the weekend and had a meeting with the commanding officer for the parish.

While in the parish on the weekend, the DPP also attended the Negril Chamber of Commerce's International Food and Wine event in that resort town.

Llewelyn, during her riveting address at the Rotary Club's installation ceremony also bemoaned the reluctance of citizens to serve as jurors in the justice system.

“Sometimes we have a problem getting jurors,” she stressed.

“The other day in Home Circuit, you have five criminal courts operating and you have to use the jurors in the five criminal courts, and only 29 jurors turned up to service the five criminal courts.”

“So my prosecutors in two or three of the courts had cases that were ready to be tried, and they were waiting for the jurors to leave Court One where a jury was being empanelled. By the time it got to Court Two, we didn't have enough jurors,” she lamented...”because some people, when they get the jury summons, they can't be bothered but…“we all have to be in this thing together.”

During the function, businesswoman Carol James was installed as the new 2018-2019 president by Assistant governor Kevin Hammond. James took over from immediate Past President Hyacinth Tyghter.

The DPP's common theme during her presentation made reference to Rotary International's motto “Service Above Self”, which she used to highlight the need for service.

“Too often, a lot of persons of high rank forget that it is not the people who are serving them, it is they who are serving the people. And unfortunately, some of our politicians, some of our public servants… maybe because they are too busy, they forget, but you have to make sure that you remind them,” Llewellyn emphasised.

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