Cop fires warning shots after scuffle at Westmoreland protest
A motorcyclist gets off his bike in an attempt to find a way through the roadblock. (Photo: Kimberley Peddie)

DARLISTON, Westmoreland — Two warning shots fired in the air by an off-duty cop helped quell a brawl that broke out among residents of this parish on Monday, after accusations that a day-long protest had been politically motivated.

The protest, which began about 6:00 am, was staged to call attention to the shoddy roads on the route from Whithorn to Darliston — which residents said have frustrated them for years. Shortly before 4:00 pm one resident remarked that the day’s protestors had not taken action when the Member of Parliament for the area was aligned to the Opposition People’s National Party, though the roads were in a poor state then.

Stones, a power saw and a machete came into play as the individual who made the comment was set upon by some in the angry mob. He had to be rescued by the out-of-uniform lawman. Some involved in the scuffle were escorted to Darliston Police Station; others had made themselves scarce as stones flew through the air.

After the scuffle, Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Eastern Daniel Lawrence told the Jamaica Observer that the constituency is plagued by shoddy roads and poor drainage.

“The residents are really frustrated; they have reached a breaking point where dem just have to tek to the streets,” he said.

While he would have preferred that there had been no protest, he said, he was of the view that residents believe this line of action will yield positive results.

He assured them the roads will eventually be fixed, however he stressed that only patching will be done in the near future. He asked them to be patient.

BY KIMBERLEY PEDDIE Observer writer

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