Westmoreland protesters ruin students' eye testing
I was one of several volunteers trying to make my way from Negril to Sheffield All-Age School on Wednesday, October 28. Our purpose was to continue the vision screening of all pupils at the school. Pupils identified by the screening process will have a full eye examination and, as necessary, be provided with eyeglasses.
Around 9 a.m., we were prevented from reaching Sheffield All-Age School by protesters on the Nonpareil Road, where materials had been spread across the road and set alight. We attempted to get around the protest, only to find other possible routes had also been blocked.
We decided, therefore, to wait until noon to try again - only to find that the protesters had moved to block off access from the West End Road. No children got their eyes tested at Sheffield All-Age School today.
I would like to ask our local MP and honourable minister of tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeill, to comment on the situation that arose in Negril on Wednesday. What does he think about the apparent failure or inability of the police and other emergency services to respond effectively to a situation that was allowed to disrupt businesses and residents from moving around the town for much of the day?
What steps will he take to ensure the emergency services are properly staffed and equipped to respond effectively to acts of lawlessness as we have seen today, and which happen on a regular basis in the town of Negril concerning motorcyclists (who I believe instigated those protests)?
What is his reaction to the potential damage of the unlawful protests on the Jamaican tourism product, and what steps will he be taking to avoid a recurrence? As a resident of Negril, that was a day to forget. There was massive inconvenience and frustration at the lack of effective control over such lawlessness. I dread to think of the damage it may have done to Negril's reputation as a tourist destination.
Does Dr McNeill have anything to say to reassure us?
- KEN COONEY