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Overcrowding at St James lock-up in 'enhanced security measures'

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 09, 2018

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Head of the St James Police Division Senior Superintendent Wilford Campbell says detainees from the 'enhanced security measures' in the parish are being transferred to Kingston due to space issues at the Freeport lock-up.

Yesterday, relatives of detainees gathered on the grounds of the police station to see their loved ones. However, confusion abound when the family members heard that some of the detainees had been transferred to Kingston and they were unable to get additional information.

“All I am asking is that you be patient with us,” the senior superintendent said yesterday. “Every single person here that needs answers, you will be getting answers as it relates to the [detainee] list, those that we still have, and those that have gone to Kingston because we are overwhelmed inside here.

“And we have to take into consideration human rights where detainees and prisoners are concerned,” Senior Superintendent Campbell continued. “We cannot have an overcrowding situation existing in here. So, once our numbers become overwhelming, we have to remove persons to another facility so that their rights are not breached.”

The St James State of Public Emergency was over the weekend renamed 'enhanced security measures'.

National Security Minister Robert Montague has stated that the move is aimed at protecting the tourism industry.

Yesterday, while addressing the relatives of detainees, SSP Campbell said that since the start of the 'enhanced security measures' on January 18, more than 700 people have been detained. However, fewer than 100 are still in custody.

The senior cop also told those gathered at the station yesterday that he would make himself available to address concerns they might still have about the transfer of detainees.

Three weeks ago, in St Ann, Montague had disclosed that 50 spaces had been provided by the Department of Correctional Services at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre to assist with the holding of detainees from the 'enhanced security measures' in St James.