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Break-in forces closure of Fellowship post office

Everard Owen

Wednesday, April 24, 2013    

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FELLOWSHIP, Portland - Police have ordered the post office at Fellowship in the Rio Grande Valley in this eastern parish closed, effective yesterday, following a break-in at the facility on the weekend.

It was unclear yesterday if the move will be temporary or permanent, but the loss of postal service will affect some 2,000 persons in the surrounding communities of Berrydale, Wain Road, Tom's Hope, River's View, and Golden Vale.

Mayor of Port Antonio and councillor for the area Benny White told the Jamaica Observer that he had been informed of the closure.

"The person in charge told me come (Tuesday) they will not be operating a post office from this location as, according to the police, it is unsafe," he said.

Thieves entered the post office via the roof and cut through a grille over the entrance door. However, nothing was stolen and the safe was not broken into.

The thieves also broke into a nearby children's store and made off with a TV and clothing, among other things.

"I came this morning and when I went in there was light inside and I did not leave any light on when I left. When I looked I saw the window was torn down, TV missing, tablets, clothing. I am not sure about the cost of the lost items as I just went in, saw it and just went back out as I didn't want to touch anything for I left here from Saturday," said operator of the store Barbara Mason.

"This is very disturbing," the mayor said. "It's disturbing to know that this area (has) started to have this type of break-ins in this community. It is a very sensitive community leading to Berrydale, where there is rafting."

White said, too, that the absence of a post office will impact negatively on the scores of people in the communities who rely on its service, including pensioners, persons who benefit from the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education, and the elderly in general. The alternative is to travel to Port Antonio.

The mayor appealed to the public to assist the Port Antonio police who are investigating the incidents.

"I want to advise the citizens that they should give information to the police because it can help this area," he said.

The Observer understands that the area used to have a number of break-ins but the number fell some five years ago.

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