Police post to be restored at Charles Gordon Market following alleged beating of female vendorThursday, May 13, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James - The St James Police Division is to restore the police post at the Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay by the end of this month, in the wake of the alleged beating of a vendor at the facility by a security guard.
The decision was taken following discussions between the St James Municipal Corporation (SJMC), which operates the facility, and the St James police, earlier this week.
The meeting stemmed from the alleged beating of the female.
“...In fact, I have been in discussions with the police high command in the parish and there is a decision to have a police post and that will be manned by the police to ensure that the types of infraction that are committed in the market, that they do not happen,” mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Leeroy Williams, told reporters yesterday.
A police post was established at the market just over eight years ago, in a bid to address the raft of safety issues that existed there at the time.
However, a few years later, the police post ceased to operate.
Yesterday, Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the commanding officer of the St James Police Division, explained that the team will be posted at the market to work along with the municipal police to enforce public order at the facility.
“A public order team has been designated to work from the post and their special focus will be to maintain order around the market…we will post the team just for this purpose, that's their core function,” Superintendent Ellis told the Jamaica Observer West.
Last night, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Janet Silvera welcomed the restoration of the post at the market.
“It's a commendable move by the municipal corporation. It will provide more security for the people who operate in the market plus people who go there to shop,” Silvera told the Observer West.
Mayor Williams argued that a post [building] exists at the market but it's not being manned by the police.
“A police post is there but we do not have any police manning the post, so going forward now we are getting police to man the post,” he stressed.
“ I can say from the municipal corporation that we are putting in place strategies to ensure that this incident doesn't reoccur. We do not want a repetition of this kind of incident.”
The mayor was referring to Saturday night's incident when a private security guard employed by Guardsman Ltd got into an altercation with a female vendor. It is alleged that the guard used a piece of board to hit the vendor on her legs several times.
The incident drew strong condemnation from Williams, as well as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, who demanded that a report be submitted to him following a probe.
“The matter was investigated and the investigation revealed that a Gaurdsman security guard did in fact hit the lady with a piece of board causing bruises to her body,” said Williams, who is also chairman of the SJMC.
He added: “As the mayor of Montego Bay and chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation, I want to make it abundantly clear that I have condemned the action of the security guard.
“From the St James Municipal Corporation perspective there is absolutely no room for gender-based violence.”
The security guard has since been charged and booked to appear in the St James Parish Court early next month.
“My understanding is that the lady has gone to the police and has reported the incident and she was given a date to [appear in] court which I think was about the 9th of June, so it has become a legal matter and it will be dealt with by the courts,” Williams stated.
The mayor revealed that the security guard has since been relieved of his duties.
He was quick to point out that it will be the security company and not the municipal corporation, that will be held liable for any legal action taken by the complainant.
“The security guard has been relieved of his duties to the municipal corporation and whatever actions will be taken will not be against the municipal corporation per se, but I think it will be against the Guardsman company,” the SJMC chairman remarked.
He, however, underscored that the municipal corporation is putting in measures to prevent a repeat Saturday's incident.
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