'Defend the peace'

'Defend the peace'

Cop urges Port Royal residents to protect community's crime-free status

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

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CONCERNS raised yesterday that a spike in crime might occur following the historic docking of the first cruise ship in Port Royal have been allayed by head of the East Kingston police Superintendent Victor Hamilton, who urged residents to “protect the peace”.

The Marella Discovery 2, which was the lead ship of the Vision Class of cruisers originally operated by Royal Caribbean International, docked in the historic town in Jamaica's capital city, bringing 2,000 passengers.

Residents, who spoke to the Jamaica Observer yesterday, voiced their fears that an increase in activity in the town will attract unscrupulous individuals.

Marquesa Mais, who has been living in the town for 40 years, is hoping that the community will remain crime-free.

“I hope it will benefit the town. I hope it don't create a disaster by bringing in thief and gunman, and all those things. Over here is quiet; we sleep all on the road and everything, so we hope this don't change it,” Mais said.

For Linton Clarke, while the latest development in the old town is “good”, residents are not prepared to take the anticipated bad that may come with it.

“We like that they are bringing all of this to the town. I will never be the man to block or stop the progress and development, but mi hoping dem lef' off the thief and criminal them when more people start flow into the place. Wi just want this thing build up wi business and the community can benefit from it, but believe mi when mi tell yuh wi nuh want the bad,” Clarke stated.

But, according to Superintendent Hamilton, the “bad” can only infiltrate the community if residents fail to protect their peace.

Hamilton, in an interview with the Observer, suggested that the town remains the saving grace in a police division heavily weighted by crime.

“When a community enjoys peace they must guard that peace. They must protect the peace and they must defend the peace. When I say defend the peace I don't mean that they must take up guns and knives and machetes and be violent. We are happy for Port Royal. Port Royal is extremely peaceful; Port Royal don't add to our crime statistics, so the citizens of Port Royal simply can't sit by and see undesirables coming in — people with a motive to commit crime — and they just sit by and allow it,” Hamilton stressed.

“Criminals will not come in droves. They will not come in buses and big trucks and suddenly overrun the community; they will come one-one or two-two — persons will bring them in. So business is thriving and thieves will try something, but if persons guard their community and defend their community they will remain safe. You see a strange man walking in your community and you're wondering who could that be? You need to be inquisitive. Five of unnu need to go in the same space and find out what is it that he wants or call the police,” the commanding officer added.

Hamilton said if residents are proactive in this way they will have no reason to fear outsiders.

“They need to guard the peace that they enjoy. Protect it and defend it, and one of the ways that they can do it, anything that them see, they should call the police,” the lawman insisted.

Several attractions are being enhanced or developed within the town to benefit visitors.

Historical sites such as Fort Charles are being redeveloped with new cannons and props, for example, to deliver the 17th-century experience to visitors, who will be led on guided tours featuring storytellers. Additionally, a new giddy house offering is being developed with a guided tour and storytelling, and souvenir shop.

The Port Authority of Jamaica said full-service cruise shipping operations will start in the 2020/2021 tourist season, but that for now four initial ship calls are planned to “introduce” the port to the market.

Yesterday, scores of visitors from mostly the United Kingdom (UK) disembarked the vessel and were treated to several Jamaican products at a welcome reception put on by the Government.

While some were whisked away in the more than two dozen tour buses that lined the makeshift compound, some opted to tour the town in small groups without the assistance of guides.

A group of four people who the Observer approached shortly after they left the ship, said while they had no idea in which direction to begin their excursion, they were not willing to pay the fee associated with official four-hour tours across the capital city.

“I came to see the island not buy it,” a member of the group said when asked why they decided to walk to the town.

“I'm not paying US$120 for a tour. We wish there were some local taxis available that we could take,” he added, before consulting a map they had on hand.

Sierra Leone-native living in the UK, Aki Roberts, said his love for Jamaica brought him back to the island and to a new location — Port Royal — having visited Ocho Rios and Montego Bay in the past.

“Most Jamaicans now living in The Gambia and Sierra Leone, and we love them. I've been in Jamaica about four or five times, but this is the first time I am coming here and I was looking forward to it. The atmosphere is fantastic, it's different from other ports. I love it; I love the set up. I love everything about it,” the middle-aged man said.

His sister Stella told the Observer that the group of 17 people travelling together would not miss a stop in “famous Jamaica”.

Stella said she was most looking forward to visiting Emancipation Park and Bob Marley Museum in St Andrew, before returning to the “lovely port”.

All Newcastle couple Donna and Paul wanted were two cold drinks and a bar in which to relax.

“The atmosphere is much, much more than we were expecting. We've been to Ocho Rios and this is beautiful compared to there. Aside from the history of the town, which we are obviously expecting to see, we'd like to find a little bar or a restaurant to have cold drinks and a view,” Donna stated.

Dexter Gordon, who migrated to England over a decade ago and who has travelled to more than 70 countries, said he did not want to miss out on this “historic achievement”.

He had high praises for Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, whom he said are doing “a fantastic job in showing Jamaica to the world”.

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