A house for McLeggon

Former cop shot in head to get assistance from gov't, house from Food For The Poor

Observer writer

Monday, February 19, 2018

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THE former policeman who was shot in the head while on duty in 1976 and is now suffering as a result is to receive help.

The Jamaica Observer North & East had reported that the ex-cop, 74-year-old Lorenzo McLeggon, served six years in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) before he was injured and left for dead.

A team from the JCF's Mobile Reserve branch earlier this month visited McLeggon at his home in Hart Hill, Portland, and subsequently brought awareness to his situation.

As a result, several people, groups and government agencies have agreed to help the disabled man.

Director at Food For The Poor (FFP) Craig Moss-Solomon said the charity organisation had read McLeggon's story in Observer North & East and decided to get involved.

“We have made an initial assessment and we have come to see exactly what is the state of his current affairs. We are now going through the process of getting the proper documentation to start the process of bringing him back to health. It is a difficult situation [and] it will take a bit of time and effort.

“He definitely needs help and we are going to do our best to help him. However, there are some constrains with the property and the location that are a little beyond our scope of how we operate that we have to get some help and intervention for. We are calling on the Government to also provide assistance where they can as well and, God willing, hopefully we can do something for him, but I can't make any commitment yet. It is still very early” Moss-Solomon said during a visit last Thursday.

McLeggon, in an earlier interview, had said he was stationed at SIS Harmon Barracks, Mobile Reserve, and was on investigation in the Olympic Gardens area at the time he was injured. He said that he went to assist a shopkeeper who was held up at gunpoint and “misread the play”. One of two gunmen approached him from behind and grabbed his neck in a vicious chokehold, held a gun to the back of his head and shot him.

He is currently living off a $1,000-pension and is supported by his mother and sister who take care him.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for the Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investment portfolios and Member of Parliament for Portland Western Daryl Vaz, who was also present, said that government is looking at how best McLeggon can be assisted.

“I'm here today to make sure that we have some short-term and medium-term plans for him. Gathered here is Food For The Poor, who has come on board immediately and has committed to building a house for him based on the assessments we are doing now. Preliminary assessment indicates that it would be better not to refurbish this house, based on the condition and the expense, but that a new and friendlier facility be built to satisfy his needs as a disabled person, and this will include even the very road that leads up to the home.

“I am now discussing with his family the tenure of the land that they are housed on here. There are some complications, but nothing that cannot be overcome to make sure we have the necessary paper work to satisfy Food For The Poor criteria. Also here is the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Community, Safety and Security branch headed by Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Steve McGregor who brought this to my attention and who I must pay credit to; and State agencies such as Portland Municipal Corporation, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Housing Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, who are more than prepared to give a compassionate grant that can go from $50,000 to $100,000 depending on the assessment. The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Housing Department can give a housing grant that can go up to $200,000 to help.

“As member of parliament, I saw this as part of my responsibility to act, and act quickly to ensure that we can put him and his family in the comfort of a safe and secure home and to also sustain them. My commitment is to help take off the financial stress off them and to support and sustain him with all that he will need. Therefore, we will have to set up a structure within the government agencies for immediate support in terms of the housing and making sure that we can have in place funding for the family at this time and this is my commitment and word,” Vaz promised.

Shortly after, McLeggon was presented with a television set and a gift basket on behalf of the JCF's Community, Safety and Security branch by Deputy Superintendent Marcia Reid.

In response, McLeggon expressed gratitude for the assistance.

“God bless you all. I've never felt so good in all my life. I am thankful to you all for your support and outpouring of love,” the former cop said.

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