Hats off to Montego Bay airport police post team

Friday, June 08, 2018

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Dear Editor,

No words can adequately describe the care shown by police personnel as they stood in the gap recently, in an effort to rescue and save my niece — a beautiful and talented 41-year-old young woman, who prides herself in promoting beauty and wellness, yet suffers from a high level of depression causing delusional and disorientated behaviour.

I received a telephone call from my sister informing that her daughter had been acting strangely and that she had left her Florida home with no indication of her whereabouts. Later the same day my niece sent me a note informing that she was at the airport in Montego Bay without money and asked that I pick her up. I immediately confirmed with my sister that her daughter was in Jamaica and hastened from Spalding to Montego Bay.

Upon reaching Montego Bay I searched the grounds of the airport, but she was nowhere to be found. I had to find her; I could not return to Spalding without her.

Two concerns hit me immediately:

1) she is a stranger in Montego Bay; and

2) a state of emergency was in effect.

Looking around, I noticed a police station located in the arrival lounge area of the airport. Truth is, I was a little hesitant to approach the police to make a report as I feared the impact it may have on her, bearing in mind the state of emergency operations in Montego Bay. Nevertheless, I needed help.

I entered the police station and explained the situation to two officers who were seated in the front area. Upon hearing the conversation, two other officers joined in and immediately started strategising. I gave them photos of her and shortly after they launched the search.

In under a half-an-hour an officer in the station called me and asked that I meet up with the police who were now at the front of the airport. They had found her. She was in a nearby hotel.

The police did their due diligence and got me to her hotel room door. The two officers, Sergeant Brown and officer White, each gave me a telephone contact and assured me that if I needed further assistance I should call. They further reassured me that the inspector who would be on duty thereafter had a good hand at these matters and will definitely be able to make a difference. I thanked them both, and they were off.

After announcing my presence at the door, my niece refused to come out. Further attempts were made, for several hours, but to no avail. She refused to come out of the room and had locked herself in. As the hours crept by, the level of concern increased as there was no telling whether she may hurt herself.

After much deliberation, we returned to the police post for help. Interestingly, the inspector in charge (surname Blake) was already aware of the situation and immediately dispatched the personnel required. She not only dispatched the team, but joined the effort herself. From there she took over and monitored the situation completely. Indeed, she handled the matter with great love and care, yet displayed the authority required and was able to get my niece out of the room. Under police escort, we journeyed to the Cornwall Regional Hospital to seek medical assistance.

The hours were long. The system was slow. The accommodations were poor. Nevertheless, the inspector broadened her shoulders and stood in the gap with us.

My niece, in her own way, took a liking to her and expressed that Inspector Blake was the only person she could trust. In the most soothing voice, Inspector Blake comforted my sister on the phone, saying “Take it easy, Mother, things will work out.”

As we waited Inspector Blake received a call to other duty. She lovingly placed her hand around my niece and told her that she had to leave, but would return. And yes, she left and kept her word; she returned to continue the support. She stood with us into the wee hours.

Many times the Jamaican police force comes under extreme negative criticism. I want to publicly acknowledge this experience, which tells me that there are still good police personnel in this country. I can proudly name a few: Inspector Blake, Sergeant Brown, and officer White of the Montego Bay airport police post. Hats off, especially to Inspector Blake who, up to this day, still takes the time out to telephone me to inquire of my niece's condition.

May the right pair of eyes read this account and accord the right accolades.

Etta-Mae Fenton

ettamaef@gmail.com

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