Regional

BRING BACK SOE!

Lucea mayor calls for return of checkpoint in Orange Bay

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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LUCEA, Hanover — Chairman of the Hanover Municipal Corporation Sheridan Samuels is calling for the return of the security forces-manned checkpoint at Orange Bay in the parish, which is under a state of public emergency (SOE).

The checkpoint, which was established when the SOE was introduced in the western parish on April 30, as part of the government's crime-fighting initiative, was discontinued as of last week Wednesday.

A seemingly disappointed Samuels, who is also the mayor of Lucea, expressed disappointment at the removal of the checkpoint after Superintendent Sharon Beeput, the commanding officer for Hanover, disclosed at last Thursday's monthly meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation, that the checkpoint no longer exists.

Mayor Samuels argued that the checkpoint was working for the parish. He expressed fear that “things might start happening”.

“…Let our voices be heard as it relates to this because it does not make any sense….. I am concerned.

I see where it was very important to have it down there (Orange Bay). Now, it is gone from us and I know that things might start to happen,” he argued.

Mayor Samuels stressed that the removal of the checkpoint will greatly impact the parish. He said over the years, “this is the kind of disadvantage that the parish is faced with”.

“It is only Hanover alone. It is only Hanover alone and these are the things that happen to us. We lose things all the while. Scotiabank gone, and I can speak of so many other things that gone leave us. All the factories are gone. Why is it that they have to move the Orange Bay checkpoint alone? It would be much easier you move the one at Great River (in St James) then,” the mayor reasoned.

“We don't have any in Hanover, and we seriously want it back down here. Mi not joking. We seriously want it back,” expressed a strident Samuels.

Superintendent Beeput later told the Jamaica Observer West that while the soldiers have been removed to from the checkpoint to elsewhere, the police will maintain its presence in the Orange Bay space. She said the police will have to do its best to avoid any problems in that area. She also added that while the soldiers and the resources have been shifted elsewhere other Jamaica Defence Force soldiers remain in the parish.

Superintendent Beeput, however, did not say where the resources have been shifted to.

The Green Island Police division in which Orange Bay falls, has in recent years recorded a number of homicides.

Since the implementation of the SOE, Hanover has seen a marked reduction in murders, when compared to the same period last year.

According to police figures as at July 12, Hanover had recorded a 33 per cent reduction in murders, when compared to the corresponding period in 2018.


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