JUTC fare increased to $120; senior citizens to pay $60, up from $20

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Transport Ministry announced a short while ago that commuters on the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses will pay an increased fare on September 1.  Adult fares are to be increased from $100 to 120, while students and the disabled will now pay $30 instead o ... Read more

Regional

Kamoza Clarke’s death plunges Bunker’s Hill into mourning

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014    

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BUNKER'S HILL, Trelawny — LIKE other members of this quiet rural community, Leoverlyn Thomas is still hurting over the tragic passing of his brother, 31-year-old Kamoza Clarke.

And even though he tries to put on a brave face, the emotional pain felt by Thomas was obvious on the weekend, as he reflected on how his beloved brother succumbed to injuries he sustained, four months after he was allegedly brutally beaten by lawmen, while in custody at the Falmouth Police Station lock-up.

The beating which reportedly occurred in October last year, was reportedly recorded by Closed Circuit Television surveillance systems installed at the cells at the recently constructed state-of-the-art police station.

"It is very tough to deal with. Very, very, tough to deal with. It is not because he is my brother, he is a citizen of this country, and the next thing my brother has a family and it could happen to anyone of us," the grieving Thomas complaining to the Jamaica Observer West.

"The whole community is upset over the incident. It was not like a normal case, it is not like he was a bad person, and police beat him. When we learnt about the incident it was very rough even before he passed. Looking at him in the hospital and see the condition that he was in... he was very, very bad."

Dale Walker, an avid community worker and the president of the Bunker's Hill-based Invaders Youth Club, also lamented the loss to the community following Clarke's calamitous death.

"His death is a blow to the football fraternity and the community overall," bemoaned Walker. "He was a good behaving, honest youth, who was committed to the community."

It is alleged that on Sunday, October 20, last year, Clarke was battered by policemen, at the lock-up after he got in an altercation with another cellmate.

He was then taken to the Falmouth Public General Hospital, and later transferred to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, where he remained in a vegetative state -- until his death on Tuesday, February 25, this year.

"He was in coma. After that he regained consciousness briefly in January, but he was in a vegetative state," a distraught Thomas told the Observer West.

Clarke was buried in a family plot in his hometown on Saturday, March 22.

Last week, a police sergeant was charged for Clarke's murder by the Independent Commission of Investigations. Two district constables -- also implicated in the incident -- who were previously charged with wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and misconduct in a public office, have had their charges changed to murder since Clarke's death.

The three accused, Sergeant Derrick Henry; District constables Alwayne Eccleston and Onecko Brown were each offered bail in the sum of $600,000 by Resident Magistrate Ruth Lawrence when they appeared in the Clark's Town RM with one to three sureties.

As part of his bail condition, Sergeant Henry -- who was taken before the court shortly after he was slapped with a murder charge -- is to report to the St Ann's Bay Police Station on Mondays and Fridays, between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, while district constables Eccleston and Brown are to report to the Sandy Bay Police Station and the Falmouth Police Station, respectively, on Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.

Meanwhile, district constables, Desmond Lawrence and Triston Turner who are charged with neglect of duty in connection with the incident, had their bail extended when they appeared in Court last week.

As condition of their bail, they are both to report to the Ulster Spring Police Station and the Wakefield Police Station respectively, on Mondays and Fridays, between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.

The five were all ordered to surrender their travel documents and stop orders were placed on them at all ports of entry. The matter is set for mention on May 28, in the Clark's Town RM Court.

Meanwhile, Clarke's distressed brother said he is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the case. "Only good sense can prevail in a time like this. And we just keep humble and hope that the law takes its course," Thomas said.

He described Clarke, a bartender who worked on the hotel circuit on the North Coast, as a jovial person who represented his community's football team, Invaders, at

the Western Confederation League after leaving William Knibb Memorial.

High School, where he was a part of the daCosta Cup team. Thomas stressed that his late brother, who was the last of four siblings, was a jovial and kind individual, who kept out of trouble.

"Not because he is my brother, but Kamoza was a nice, jovial person," Thomas recalled.

Clarke was taken into custody by the Wakefield police on a destruction of property charge.

Thomas in the meantime, played down reports that his brother was mentally challenged.

"He was not a mad person who was walking the streets. He had problems but it was controllable because he wasn't molesting people, he wasn't a menace to society or anything like that," he argued.

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