Correction & Clarification
In a Gleaner story headlined, Ferry police station needs help, published on February 4, quotes were incorrectly attributed to Sgt Sterling.
We apologise for the error and for any embarrassment/inconvenience caused
Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
It sits along one of the island's most heavily trafficked thoroughfares and serves a public always in need of assistance, but the Ferry Police Station along St Catherine's Mandela Highway, is also crying out for help. And, to see the condition under which those who serve and protect us exist, would bring us shame. This journalist recently stopped there for some help and was invited by the officer in charge to take a closer look at the situation.
Conditions are appalling. The station is sandwiched by a new garbage dump on one side and the IGL plant on the other. Officer in charge Sgt Sterling said since the passage of Hurricane Sandy, the National Solid Waste Management Authority has been piling garbage on the empty lot next door. "They have even started to leave household trash there and the stench has become unbearable. Some of my team members have respiratory problems, and I fear what will happen if rats and roaches start to take over," he said.
But also of major concern for the officers are the consequences for the entire block were a fire to break out in the area. They fear all would be lost in a matter of minutes because of the cooking gas facility's proximity.
Back inside the building bearing the regulatory blue and white fašade depicting police stations, the waiting/interview room portends the deplorable condition that exists throughout the building. This room contains tattered, dingy furniture and walls that could use a fresh coat of paint. Ventilation is poor and I mentally reversed my decision to take a seat on one of the chairs.
The male and female sleeping quarters spell discomfort. If someone were trying to send the message, 'don't contemplate sleeping here', they succeeded. The bunk beds sit in cramped spaces and the mattresses that seem more like cheap rectangular wedges of stuffed plastic, have long outlived their usefulness. All of them either have huge holes or are otherwise not fit for human use. As for the poor excuses for sheets, surely the cops deserve better.
The lockers and cupboards are also in a state of disrepair and there is no place to hang clothing. The bathrooms are no better. There are broken windows in some cubicles and this is unfortunate as the officers told The Gleaner that every day, scores of motorists stop there to use it. "People stop here to rest if they are tired, they use the bathroom and they ask for directions," Sgt Sterling said.
Asked whether complaints had been made to the authorities regarding their living/working conditions, Sgt Sterling responded in the affirmative and said that a team from the Ministry of National Security had visited last year and promised to start work before Christmas but they had not returned.