Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Hanover tops lockdown breaches out west

Published:Wednesday | March 31, 2021 | 12:12 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Reporter


While St James, Trelawny and Westmoreland all had impressive enforcement figures, Hanover emerged as the rogue parish as the Area One police went about enforcing the weekend lockdown ordered by the Government under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

Of the 67 persons arrested across the region, Hanover accounted for 43 of the cases, easily outstripping the other three parishes - St James had 13 cases, Trelawny three. And Westmoreland, which is arguable the hotbed of the spread of the virus in the region, had a perfect compliance record with no arrest.

Superintendent Adrian Hamilton, the officer in charge of operations in Westmoreland, was quite pleased with the level of compliance and praised the residents for doing the right thing by staying home and not seeking to breach the DRMA.

“We had a pretty high compliance rate. We had our operation action plan and we had strategic spot checks across the parish on both days, and for the most part, the citizens of Westmoreland complied with the initiative,” said Hamilton. “We had an incident in which three persons were warned on Saturday, but no arrest was made.”

While noting that there was significant traffic flow between St James and Westmoreland during the lockdown, all the motor vehicle operators who were checked, were in full compliance and not in breach.

“There are citizens who are exempted, such as farmers, fisherfolk, nurses, community workers, construction workers and persons employed in the essential services, that kind of thing, so you will find some traffic on the road but not the usual dense traffic flow,” said Hamilton. “We had persons who were going to and from the airport, even persons who needed medical attention, and also the vaccination sites were still opened, and persons who had registered would have travelled to get their shots.”

Although Hanover had disappointing arrest numbers, Superintendent Sharon Beeput, the parish’s commanding officer, felt that the level of compliance was fairly good. She also intimated that their zero-tolerance approach may have accounted for the high number of arrests.

“We had 39 arrests on Saturday night and we seized five motorcycles. We arrested seven persons on Sunday,” said Beeput. “All the persons arrested were for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act.”

“Despite these arrests, it is still safe to say the residents in the parish, especially in the township, have complied well, but some residents in the outer communities were the ones who tended to want to breach the curfew hours,” added Beeput.

Commanding officer for Trelawny, Superintendent Carlos Russell, told The Gleaner that things went very well in his parish with just a mere three arrests.

“We try to put the correct measure in place. In fact, we had teams going around to ensure that community members abide by the protocols governing the curfew, plus officers from the various police stations were on the ground as well monitoring their own districts,” said Russell.

“From all indications, persons complied, and they were complying with the old measures. Things have been going well in Trelawny as over the past week we have recorded only two assault cases in the parish.

In St James, Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the parish commander, told The Gleaner that a total of 13 persons were arrested for breaches of the DRMA during the weekend lockdown.

“The parish saw 13 persons being arrested and prosecuted. However, I would say the rate of compliance was of an extremely high standard and we are quite please,” said Ellis.

“It would appear that the residents in the parish have learned their lesson from the recent states of emergency and that has allowed them to better cope with the measures in place to stop the spread of the virus.” added Ellis.