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Hanover Municipal Corporation lauds efforts to stem crime in the parish

Observer West writer

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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LUCEA, Hanover — Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels says the Hanover Municipal Corporation is pleased with efforts being made by the security forces to protect law-abiding citizens in the parish under the state of public emergency (SOE), as he urged citizens to cooperate with the security forces.

“While my council and I recognise that the Government of Jamaica has the sole responsibility to declare a state of [public] emergency, we are pleased that efforts are made to protect the law-abiding citizens of this parish,” said Mayor Samuels during the recent general monthly meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation.

“We are cognisant of the implications of a state of emergency to this parish and for that we ask our citizens to continue to work with the instructions of the security forces. Equally, we will emphasise that our security forces remain alert in the enforcement of their duties, but also be respectful of the rights of each individual.”

The mayor said “although we await a long-term crime fighting plan from the government, my council and I reaffirm our support in helping to eradicate this monster called crime”.

Shortly after the declaration of the SOE in the western parishes of St James, Westmoreland and Hanover by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on April 30, the Jamaica Observer West tried unsuccessfully to get a comment from the mayor on the enhanced crime measure.

But, in his address at the recent meeting, the mayor noted that while there were “immediate calls” for him to comment on the matter, “there were some issues that we wanted to address before I actually speak on the issue”.

He noted that the issue had to do with calls he was receiving from residents of his Cauldwell Division surrounding the declared SOE for the parish, which, he said, resulted in a meeting in the division between representatives of the police, the Social Development Commission and the Hanover Municipal Corporation.

At that meeting, he said, the residents declared their support for the enhanced security measure, which is “geared at stemming the growing level of crime in the parish”.

Additionally, the Cauldwell Development Committee (CDC) gave permission for members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to be housed at the Cauldwell Community Centre.

President of the CDC, Terry Smith, noted that even though they are inconvenienced by the use of the CDC's centre by the JDF, “the community supports the use for such initiative and are willing to take their community meeting elsewhere”.

Head of the Hanover Police Division Superintendent Sharon Beeput reportedly expressed gratitude for the support given to the security forces by the community and the parish by extension.

Last week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to extend the SOE in the three parishes — which was initially declared for 14 days — by another 90 days.

Holness, in speaking on the Emergency Powers Resolution 2019 in Parliament recently, noted that the security chiefs had advised that some 56 gangs were operating in the three parishes.

On May 8, JDF commander with responsibility for the states of public emergency in the three parishes, Brigadier Radgh Mason, disclosed in a radio interview that the security forces were seeking some 65 wanted men in those parishes — 32 from St James, 13 from Hanover and 20 from Westmoreland.

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