Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Cuban nurses attacked in Portland

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2015 | 3:00 AM
The entrance to the building where the women were assaulted.

A suspect was yesterday taken into police custody following Sunday night's vicious attack on two Cuban nurses at their residence at Alexandria Street in Buff Bay, Portland.

The man, who was picked up shortly after 10 a.m. on Monday in Buff Bay, following a speedy and intense investigation by detectives from the Criminal Investigative Branch (CIB) in Port Antonio, reportedly had his clothing smothered with blood, and also had cuts and bruises along his arm.

"We strongly believe that this individual can assist us with our investigation," commented Wayne Cameron, superintendent in charge of the Portland Division.

"His injuries are consistent with the report that we have received, and we believe that this man figured in the brutal attack on the two Cuban nurses. Having visited the location, I was a bit uncomfortable with the location of the nurse's hostel. The area is very dark and isolated and it is adjacent to dilapidated buildings, which are ideal locations for criminals,"Cameron added.

According to the superintendent, as commanding officer he was learning for the first time about the location of the nurse's hostel. He argued that having two female nurses living in such an isolated area was not recommended as they could easily be targeted by perverts and other criminal elements.

A police report has suggested that the man went to the hostel occupied by the two nurses shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Sunday and forced his way through a burglar bar at the side of the house, probably using a crow bar to heave up the rotted steel. He then reportedly smashed his way through a pane of glass on a door on the verandah and entered the house.

The police said that the man physically assaulted the two nurses, and that throughout the lengthy ordeal he reportedly used a barrage of expletives, while threatening the two Cuban nationals.

speedy investigation

Yesterday, more than 200 residents took to the streets of Buff Bay in support of the two nurses and called for a speedy investigation into the alleged physical abuse of the two Cuban nationals, who were scheduled to leave the island next week.

The two Cuban nurses are attached to the Buff Bay community health centre, and occupy a hostel, which is adjacent to at least four abandoned buildings, and was formerly used by the Buff Bay Hospital. A mortuary is also located to the rear of the hostel, and the area is poorly lighted.

Member of Parliament (MP) Daryl Vaz, who commended the police for their quick response in apprehending the suspect, has condemned the incident, and declared that violence in any form against women and young girls cannot be tolerated.

"I am calling on the Ministry of Health to arrange the necessary counselling to minimise any long-term psychological effects on them,'' said the MP.

He added: "I am hoping that this will not tarnish or jeopardise, in any way, the various health programmes between Jamaica and Cuba, as Jamaica has benefited tremendously in this bilateral arrangement over several decades. It is troubling to know that such an incident has taken place in the peaceful town of Buff Bay and the usually quiet parish of Portland."

rural@gleanerjm.com