Tue | Jun 27, 2017

Blue Hole residents wrestling community from thugs

Published:Friday | February 17, 2017 | 2:00 AMOkoye Henry

Western Bureau:

Plagued by a spate of robberies in their community, residents of Blue Hole in St James have decided to take matters into their own hands by establishing a neighbourhood watch, and they are now calling on the police to support their action with regular patrols.

According to the residents, they stand fully prepared to be the extra pairs of eyes needed to support the efforts of the police to stem the misery that gun-toting thugs have been causing them in recent times.

With the lawlessness, which has resulted in a record 268 murders in St James last year, steadily creeping into their community, which is somewhat isolated because of the absence of street lights and poor road conditions, the residents decided it was time for action.

"The community needs a system like this so we can defend ourselves if something should happen," said Paul Anthony Asslick, who heads the neighbourhood watch. "We can see the heinous acts of murders and kidnappings being committed against men, women, and children in the parish, so we have decided to act."

NO TAXI SERVICE

He told The Gleaner that some members of the community were also using social media to allow easy access for reporting misdeeds or mishaps that might require prompt attention.

"We have poor street lighting and the road is very bad, so you find that a lot of taxi drivers are not coming around here, especially late at nights," said Asslick.

"Some folks work late at nights, and sometimes, they have to charter a driver, but the drivers are not always on the road, so they have to walk, and the place dark."

He said that just last week, two women were held up and robbed in the community by hoodlums who used the cover of darkness to carry out their act. They believe that such acts would be less likely if they had street lights and better roads.

"Over the years, we have been lobbying our councillor, the member of parliament, among other persons, but our plight has fallen on deaf ears," said Asslick. "It would appear that the criminals have figured out what's going on, so they are taking advantage of the situation."

Following a recent meeting with Montego Bay's new mayor, Councillor Homer Davis, Asslick said that he is cautiously optimistic that they might finally get the opportunity to air their concerns.