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No report yet on Negril protest

Published:Friday | March 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Three days after a fiery protest in the White Hall Phase III community of Negril, Westmoreland, the Police High Command has yet to provide a report on the incident.

Numerous allegations have been laid against members of a police party that oversaw the demolition of several houses and unfinished structures in the area. The most damning allegation is the shooting of Grevon Richards, 26-year-old labourer of Negril.

Richards was shot in the neck shortly after he had gone to visit a friend in White Hall Phase III.

"Me and mi friend was making some flowers containers at his house. Some man come in the area shortly after to demolish the houses and there was a stone-throwing match between them and the residents," Richards said.

"Mi was running away with mi bicycle when mi hear shots firing. Mi feel mi neck numb and blood start run. Mi realise mi get shot and was taken to hospital," he recalled.

While the police are still not talking, medical records obtained by The Gleaner clearly state that Richards was treated for a gunshot wound to the left side of his neck. He was discharged from the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital yesterday.

Houses demolished

On Tuesday, several residents said their houses were demolished by a group of men earlier in the morning in an operation sanctioned by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), which was overseen by a police party.

Andrew Lawrence was charged with using indecent and abusive language, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Residents say they are willing to buy the land but managing director of the HAJ, Joseph Shoucair, told The Gleaner that White Hall Phase III is being overtaken by locals and persons from abroad.

"We had no choice, demolition was a last resort. People have been capturing land and the HAJ cannot sit impotently without acting. We are containing squatting in existing communities and preventing it happening elsewhere," Shoucair said.

"Twenty offending structures were demolished, but no other demolition is envisaged," he added.

- Noel Thompson