SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — More than 60 people were arrested and charged with breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) by the Westmoreland police who swooped down on two illegal parties in full swing in Savanna-la-Mar on Monday evening.
Since the start of this year, over 200 individuals have been charged by the Westmoreland police for violations of the DRMA.
Yesterday, Superintendent Robert Gordon, commander of the Westmoreland Police Division, appealed to residents to take the novel coronavirus pandemic seriously and adhere to Ministry of Health and Wellness safety protocols.
“The message continues to be that people need to act more responsibly and take the virus seriously. They need to watch the news and see what is happening, not only in Jamaica, but other places. Case in point: India. Hospitals are full and persons cannot get beds; they are literally dying in the streets. And if we are not careful we are going to reach that point,” Superintendent Gordon said.
“We just want people to act responsibly and just abide by the COVID protocols. Wear your masks, wash hands, sanitise, [maintain] social distance and no gathering of 10 persons or more... no parties,” he pleaded.
He made reference to a recent spike in cases of the respiratory illness which resulted in the oversubscription of beds on COVID-19 wards at the island's public hospitals.
“Just a month ago Jamaica would have almost reached full capacity across all hospitals as it relates to COVID beds, and in respect of those persons who have medical issues to be treated with, they had to be sidelined because of these infections,” Gordon stated.
Monday's arrests come amidst an ongoing probe by the police in the parish into an incident on Saturday in which a party boat, laden with revellers, capsized in the sea in Negril.
There were no reports of injuries among the patrons who were on the boat which had to be rescued by two other vessels.
On Saturday, April 17, the parish was in the spotlight when Andrew Campbell, affectionately called Kid, was shot dead at an illegal party staged on a cay close to Egypt Gardens, Big Bridge, Westmoreland.
At that time, Superintendent Gordon shared that, as a result of the police's vigilance, party organisers were moving offshore to stage illegal parties.
Police said that Campbell was killed about 8:30 pm during his attempt to quell a fight between two patrons at the party.
No one has so far been charged in connection with Campbell's killing.
“We are still investigating the murder,” Superintendent Gordon told the Jamaica Observer.
“Follow-up investigations and operations stemming from the murder have resulted in the seizure of three illegal firearms, two pistols — one .38 and a 9mm — and one M16 rifle.”