Police say no to Hanover ‘peace’ march; organisers cry foul

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 02, 2017

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LUCEA, Hanover — Organisers of a peace march in Hanover are crying foul amid an apparent row between them and the police, claiming that the spiralling crime wave affecting the parish is being politicised.


"You see this thing, it has turned political," the event’s promoter, Darren ‘Nuchie’ Grant, told the
Jamaica Observer in an interview yesterday.


Grant, who is a music producer and recording artiste, is among a group of musicians in Hanover who had organised the peace march for 11:00 am today in Lucea. A concert was also scheduled to be held after the march, which would’ve featured the video première of the song Hanover We Cry.


On Wednesday, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in charge of the Community Safety and Security Branch in Hanover, Ainsley McCarthy said the march would not be allowed.


DSP McCarthy was speaking at a Hanover Visionaries and Social Development Commission meeting at the Hopewell Baptist Church.


"I tried to facilitate it then. But, then information came, and the information that we have, which is substantiated to some level, is that this was not a peace launch but an album launch," he said. "So, these persons were very disingenuous in using the name of persons in the wider Hanover sphere who people think would come out to hear persons speak on issues of crime, when this had nothing at all to do with the issues of crime and what was happening in Hanover."


However, Grant said he, along with George Clayton, had spoken to DSP McCarthy on Tuesday.


"It is a peace video. So, I can’t understand why persons are going to bash against? a cause like this when other persons are not doing nothing. But, you see, it is because I am a nobody and I came up with this idea. So nobody wants to support because I have Mr (Easton) Edwards (Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Lucea Division) on it (video).


"I even went to the schools and even Rusea’s (High School) went and get permission slips and give the kids to bring in today (Thursday), so they can attend the march tomorrow (Friday)," he continued. "So, I don’t understand how Mr McCarthy can go behind my back and go in a meeting yesterday and say something like that."


On Wednesday afternoon, a town crier could be heard in Lucea: "... We will be hearing from members of Parliament (MP), the police and the church. So come out in your white shirts as we march for peace this Friday."


DSP McCarthy said, at first, even though the police were not officially told about the event, the police were willing to facilitate it.


"I tried my best to facilitate the march. I put some plan in place. Suffice to say, when I did some background work and I called a number of persons who were scheduled to be part of the march, including MP (Member of Parliament) for Eastern Hanover, Mr Dave Brown. Mr Dave Brown told me he had no idea. Nobody said anything to him about the march.


"I called the MP for Western Hanover. He said to me, he knew nothing of the march. I spoke to a couple of other persons who are integral to the march, they knew nothing of the march scheduled for Friday," DSP McCarthy said.


At the same time, Grant told the Observer that he is not getting support from the church either.


"This is something that the parish needs. But persons are using colour — it is either orange or green... as far as I can see, it is all the PNP who are hitting out on it," Grant lamented.


He further argued that "everybody needs to put down colour. Put politics aside. We don’t need politics right now. We need unity. A dat we need now and a that we a try bring".


DSP McCarthy said on Wednesday that the police would be communicating their decision to the event’s organisers.


However, Grant, who said yesterday that he is yet to be informed by the police of their decision, expressed concern about cancelling the march at the last hour when people have expressed interest in attending.

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