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Lucea lock-up in an unhealthy state, but…

Published:Tuesday | April 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller


Western Bureau

The unhealthy and unsanitary state of the lock-up at the Lucea Police Station, in Hanover, is now a source of much concern and has now attracted the attention of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HPC).

Devon Brown, the Councillor for the Hopewell division, who first brought the matter to the attention of the corporation in January, is again voicing his concern about the situation, saying something must be done quickly as the facility is being plagued by bedbugs, rats, mosquitoes and roaches, among other problems.

Following Brown initial complaint, officers from the Hanover Health Department visited the facility and stated in a release that they had found the conditions "not up to satisfactory levels". They also issued the police with a timelines to correct the problems identified. However, Brown is of the view that nothing seems to have changed since that time, albeit the time line has passed.

At last Thursday monthly meeting of the HPC, Brown, was adamant that the situation must be rectified at the earliest possible time.

When the parish's Chief Public Health Inspector, Patricia Hall Patterson, who was in attendance at the meeting was quizzed about the situation, she said that the repairs could not have been done during the time specified as it coincided with the holding of Circuit Court in the parish.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Sharon Beeput, the newly installed commanding officer for the Hanover Police Division, said while they are aware of the situation at the Lucea Police Station lock-up, they have to wait until they are able to find accommodation for the prisoners, before any work can be done to address the problem.

"Since I have been here, I have been notified about the concerns of the Health Department, but just to say that, we cannot lock down that cell block presently. We have intention to look about this lock-up here, but as I have said before to the other agencies, we do not have anywhere to transport these prisoners to, so we have to wait on the other areas," said Beeput.

The commanding officer said some of the problems at the Lucea lock-up surfaced because prisoners from St James, who had various health issues, were accommodated there while the Freeport lock-up was ordered closed.

"Prisoners cannot be treated lightly, and I cannot follow some of the suggestions being put forward about how to treat them," said Beeput, who pointed out that the adjoining parish facilities in Whithorn, Savanna-la-Mar and Negril, all in Westmoreland, are not in a position to assist, as repair work is now being carried at those locations.