Disabled ex-cop gets assistance
The years of living in squalor, coupled with enduring conditions way below the poverty line, could soon be over in a few months for retired and disabled ex-cop Lorenzo McLeggon, who is on the verge of owning his own home at Hart Hill in Portland.
Since The Sunday Gleaner broke the story about his plight, several individuals, state-run agencies, and non-profit organisation have stepped in to provide emergency and much-needed assistance to the 74-year-old, who was injured in the line of duty in 1976.
The latest to have joined in giving to the needy cop are West Portland Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz, Food For The Poor, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and Councillor Dionne Hunter.
On Thursday, Vaz, along with representatives from the above-mentioned agencies, made a courtesy call on McLeggon and his family to discuss, among other things, the quickest way to provide him with a house, furniture, and water tanks.
"First, he (McLeggon) will be going to the Annotto Bay Hospital to get a thorough check-up as he has been complaining about feeling pains," commented Vaz.
"As discussed with Food For The Poor, we have identified a site on this property that has been earmarked to build a house for him. Special permission and priority have been given for the commencement of the clearing of the site to accommodate immediate construction. We will not allow any bureaucracy to affect or delay this dire emergency. Furniture and fixtures will be dealt with through a joint venture with Food For The Poor."
According to Vaz, who is also minister without portfolio with responsibility for job creation, land and environment, and climate change in the Office of the Prime Minister, the disabled former crime fighter will also receive a hospital bed and a reclining chair. In addition, Vaz said that a wheelchair ramp would be installed for his mobile chair.
"I am expecting that the house will be completed and furnished within two months. This is what we call an emergency, compassionate requirement. We will deal with the paperwork and Food For The Poor will deal with the construction. I will coordinate all the government agencies to ensure that everything is straight and proper," Vaz further stated.
They came bearing gifts
On Thursday, Lorenzo McLeggon also received a gift basket from Dionne Hunter, who is the councillor for the Buff Bay division. Additionally, he also received a television set from members of the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB) from Kingston, along with groceries from the Portland chapter of the CSSB.
McLeggon was injured from a single shot to the head at point-blank range while on duty with an operational unit within the Mobile Reserve known back then as the 'S-90 squad'. The injury left him paralysed from the waist down. He was reportedly responding to a crime call in Olympic Gardens in St Andrew but was held from behind in a neck lock and shot by one of two gunmen.
McLeggon was rushed to hospital, where it was diagnosed that he had fragments of bullets lodged in the brain. He later developed epilepsy and was placed on sick leave for two years, but was later retired. He is now cared for by his mother and sister, who also occupy the frail and rotted wooden building known to them as home, which, according to them, leaks heavily whenever it rains.