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Growth Forum: Battling disorder in the west

Published:Thursday | July 23, 2015 | 7:00 AMChristopher Thomas
The Savanna-la-Mar Police Station.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Several stakeholders in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, believe the proliferation of motorcycles in the town, especially the ones being driven by young people, contribute significantly to lawlessness and disorder in the town.

Dwayne Vaz, the member of parliament for Central Westmoreland, said the level of indiscipline associated with motorcyclists in the parish is also connected to the lottery scam.

"One of the major issues we have in Savanna-la-Mar is the scamming. The reason people go into this form of lifestyle is because of the get-rich-quick mentality, which is also part of the whole undisciplined nature of these people," said Vaz.

"One of the first things a man gets when he makes the first [scam-related] money is a bike, and the leader, who makes most of the money, sometimes because of the protection he desires, he buys a lot of bikes for the people around," noted Vaz. "He will also buy a lot of guns for the people around. No matter how many bikes the police seize, if they seize five bikes from the big man today, he can send to buy five more bikes tomorrow."

 

FLOUTING THE LAW

 

Hartley Perrin, the custos of Westmoreland, said the apparent inability of the police to adequately prosecute motorcyclists who flout the law was also a major issue.

"There is lawlessness to the highest degree, and it goes particularly unabated because, I am told, the police find

great difficulty in stopping motorcyclists, notwithstanding that they are without helmets, license plates, or anything that pertains to law," said Perrin. "Yet they (motorcyclists) are able to move freely, sometimes with an abundance of noise pollution because they remove the silencers from the motorcycles, and they are not afraid to ride it pass the police station or wherever they choose to ride, and it does not matter what time of day or night."

Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Traffic and Highway Division, noted that the behaviour of motorcyclists on the nation's roads, particularly in western Jamaica, was cause for concern.

"If you journey right now to the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station, we have about 380 motorcycles that have been seized and parked there, but, ironically, tomorrow morning, you will see the very individual from whom one of those motorcycles was seized riding another one," Allen said.