More help for McLeggon

Florida-based broadcaster Bevan Earle donates $200K to disabled ex-cop

BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at-Large
cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 03, 2019

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BARRETT TOWN, St James— Paralysed ex-cop Lorenzo McLeggon was not on hand at the Barrett Town Police Station to receive a gift of $200,000 from Florida-based radio personality Bevan Earle on Christmas Day, but Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Steve Mc Gregor, who collected the donation on his behalf, said the money “will make his Christmas a little bit better”.

“I am sure, he will be happy and it (the donation) will help him live a little longer and aid in his peace of mind,” said McGregor, who heads the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Community Safety and Security Branch.

The funds were raised by Earle, who is also an ex-cop and a squad mate of McLeggon, after McGregor spoke about the ex-cop's plight on his radio programme aired on WAVS 1170 FM in South Florida earlier last year.

Earle then made an appeal to his listeners for monetary contributions to assist McLeggon.

Earle, who served 18 years in the Jamaica Constabulary Force and six years in the Jamaica Defence Force before emigrating to the USA almost three decades ago, said the funds were realised within three months of the interview with Mc Gregor.

He added that apart from the donations from listeners, the Sandals Foundation, as well as himself, also contributed.

The 75-year-old McLeggon, a resident of Hart Hill in Portland, served six years in the JCF before he was shot and injured while on duty in 1976.

He subsequently fell on hard times and was said to be living in squalor, receiving a measly $1,000 monthly pension from Government.

Almost a year ago, the Jamaica Observer highlighted the less than desirable conditions under which the ex-cop was living.

Since awareness was brought to his situation, a number of groups, agencies and individuals have come to his assistance.

These include Food for the Poor, a team from the JCF's Mobile Reserve branch, Member of Parliament for Portland Western Daryl Vaz, as well as Cal's and Lasco food distributors.

Earle, a Barrett Town native, said he was happy to assist the disabled Mc Leggon, stressing that he is a patriotic Jamaican.

“I am dedicated to my country, I am dedicated to serving my country and I will always try to assist the less fortunate in whatever way I can,” said Earle.

He said when he read of Mc Leggon's plight in the Jamaica Observer, “especially the $1,000 that he got monthly as a pension,” he cringed, and was forced into action.

“After reading the story, I knew immediately that I had to do something to help him, so I contacted the commissioner's office and someone there put me on to Mr Mc (Steve) Gregor, so here I am today presenting the money for Mr Mc Leggon,” Earle explained.

He added that he would be making annual contributions to the well-being of McLeggon.

The Florida-based broadcaster and newspaper publisher has assisted hundreds of Jamaicans over the years, particularly in the education sector.

A few years ago Earle was instrumental in setting up a computer centre in the community of Zion in St James and for the past 18 years, has had an annual Christmas and back-to-school treats for scores of residents in Barrett Town and its environs.

The presentation of the cheque on Christmas Day preceded Earle's annual Christmas and back-to-school treat for more than 200 children, in what he said was part of giving back to the St James community.

“This [the treat] has been going on for the past 18 years, and this is my way of giving back to the community,” said Earle, noting that the treat was hosted in conjunction with the Sandals Foundation.

During the event, children were presented with food and drinks, school bags, books and other educational material.

Derrick Scott, a Trelawny native, who is also the information attache at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington DC, was on hand to assist Earle in handing out the supplies to the residents.

Scott in his brief remarks commended Earle for the initiative.

“This is a treat that he (Earle) has been doing for 18 years; this is something that he has been doing because of the love for his community and for the love of you children, bringing joy at Christmas, so he must be commended,” said Scott.


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