Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Partygoers pelt police pickup with stones

Published:Monday | September 28, 2020 | 12:14 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
The police vehicle that was damaged by defiant partygoers in Parry Town, St Ann.
The police vehicle that was damaged by defiant partygoers in Parry Town, St Ann.

An investigation has been launched after partygoers in breach of the 8 p.m. curfew damaged a police service vehicle in Parry Town, St Ann, on Saturday after lawmen tried to disperse the crowd.

It was the second such attack on the police in less than a week after stones were flung at law enforcers in Seaview Gardens, Kingston. Dozens of persons were arrested in that September 24 incident.

When contacted on Sunday, the Ocho Rios police referred The Gleaner to the St Ann divisional headquarters in St Ann’s Bay. However, no one was available to speak on the issue.

Information reaching The Gleaner indicates that the police were on patrol in Parry Town, near Ocho Rios, about 9:30 p.m. when they came across a party in session. Except for specific workers, an islandwide curfew, under the Disaster Risk Management Act, forbids movement beyond 8 p.m. to curb the spread of COVID-19. Parties are also banned.

The lawmen’s attempts to shut down the party enraged several patrons, who verbally attacked the police before hurling stones, which smashed the windscreen and other windows of the Isuzu pickup. A tyre was also slashed.

It is unclear if anyone was hurt during the altercation. However, one person, said to be the promoter of the party, was arrested.

Parry Town has become a crime hotspot in recent years, accounting for several murders in the parish.

Ian Bell, councillor for the Beecher Town division, which includes Parry Town, said that he was alerted to the clash sometime before 11 p.m. Saturday.

Bell said the police informed him that they had gone to serve a cease-and-desist order on the operator of a party. The police subsequently came under attack, and their vehicle was badly damaged.

The councillor said that reinforcements, including soldiers, were called in and a wrecker used to take the vehicle back to the Ocho Rios Police Station.

“It is really an unfortunate situation. This behaviour should not be condoned in any aspect of life,” said Bell. “Worse, it was during the curfew hours.”

Under government-ordered COVID-19 restrictions, curfew hours run from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. No more than 15 persons are allowed at public gatherings.