Business operators, police stand-off on building closure
Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer
BUSINESS OPERATORS on Bromanty Street in May Pen, Clarendon, are fuming over a decision by the police to recommend that their establishments be closed.
This recommendation comes as a result of a flare-up of violence in the area in the last seven weeks.
Businessman Lawrence Nugent and his tenants were left disgruntled after the police announced that permission will be sought to close down the building after a search of the premises revealed that most of them were not licensed to operate.
The premises, which is owned by Nugent, who is a returning resident, consists of several hairdressing salons, a tattoo shop, a barber shop and a bar. When The Gleaner visited the establishment, Nugent produced a tavern licence which he said was issued to him by the Clarendon Parish Council, and a food handler's permit as proof that he is authorised to operate the bar. However, none of the other establishments provided a licence.
"It's the second time he came here and literally terrorised us, stating that the licence displayed in the bar is not legitimate, yet still it is the licence that was issued to us by the Clarendon Parish Council," said Nugent.
He also distanced himself from the shootings that occurred in the area. "We have no connection to the incidents that happened here, we are just unlucky that it happened here twice."
But Superintendent Carol McKenzie, who is now spearheading the Clarendon Police division is adamant that the location is unsafe to do business. He said the area is a crime hotspot and he is very concerned about the safety of persons who do business there.
"Within the last two weeks, there have been two incidents of murder and two incidents of shooting. As a result, we decided to take a certain course of action which includes increasing our presence in the vicinity, as well as carrying out operations in the area aimed at identifying persons whom we believe are persons of interest, or persons who are capable of being violence producers." He said the Bromanty and Stork streets are small areas, but they are of great concern.
Superintendent McKenzie said that in short order he will be applying for a revocation of the licence of the tavern stating that, "We feel that particular area is the centre of gravity as lightning would have struck there twice in two separate incidents, and we will not allow it to happen again." He said he will be soliciting the help of the parish council to have the premises closed permanently, even to the point of having it completely destroyed.