Two mothers from the rural community of Juan de-Bolas in St Catherine said they are tired of the runaround they have been getting from law enforcers whenever they seek answers about their two sons, who the Lluidas Vale police picked up at a party six days ago under the ongoing state of public emergency.
The police, to date, have not charged 24-year-old Romario Davis and 23-year-old Romaine Cunningham, who have been languishing at Tamarind Farm detention centre in Spanish Town, several miles away from their homes.
Gloria Douglas (left in the photo above) is Cunningham’s mother, and Nicole Simms (right in the said photo) is Davis’ mom.
Both mothers told The Beacon that they have not received answers despite numerous attempts to ascertain how and why their sons were held.
They stated that, based on reports from residents, young Cunningham and Davis were among patrons at a party last Friday night (December 7) outside the gas station in Lluidas Vale.
While they were there together, the Lluidas Vale police appeared and held Cunningham.
They reportedly told the other young man, Davis, to leave the area. He walked a short distance away, and then stopped and turned around to see what was happening to his friend. That’s when he too was held.
The mothers got wind of what transpired and, on the following day, Simms took some items to the young men, who, at the time, were detained at Linstead Police Station.
She returned to Linstead on Sunday, and was able to see the youngsters for the first time since they were picked up at the party two days earlier.
On the following day, Monday, the mothers realized their sons were no longer in Linstead.
With no information coming from the authorities, the women went on a blind search, making trips between police stations in Linstead and Spanish Town, as well as the Tamarind Farm detention centre.
They said they were advised to contact Sergeant Oliver Johnson who now heads the Lluidas Vale police, as well as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Andrew Edwards. Those attempts, when made, bore no fruit.
The mothers eventually heard about the Twickenham Park detainee processing facility, and tried their luck there.
“We had to go to Twickenham Park and speak to a young man at a desk; that’s how we found out our sons are at Tamarind Farm detention centre,” said Douglas, one of the mothers.
She stated that, although personnel at Twickenham Park disclosed the youngsters’ new location, they could not give a reason for the detention.
The women were told that the Lluidas Vale police should be able to explain why the young men were detained. But, again, Sergeant Johnson was nowhere to be found, the mothers said.
Monday eventually ended.
Tuesday dawned with the same old issues – the same old search for answers.
The mothers said they went directly to the Tamarind Farm detention centre in Spanish Town, hoping that they would have got a chance to see the young men. They, however, were told they had arrived too early.
The women, with a bit of free time on their hands, resumed the search for DSP Edwards – first at Spanish Town Police Station, then at Linstead where the senior cop was finally seen.
The mothers stated that, by the time their discussion with DSP Edwards ended in Linstead on Tuesday, visiting hours at Tamarind Farm in Spanish Town had ended.
They, therefore, commenced the relatively long journey from Linstead to their homes in Juan de-Bolas, through the district called Lluidas Vale.
When the women reached Lluidas Vale at nightfall, however, they were prompted to make a U-turn after hearing that their sons were hungry and in need of clothes at the detention centre in Spanish Town.
The mothers further told The Beacon that, when they covered the relatively long distance to Tamarind Farm with food and clothes for the young men, personnel at the facility turned them back with all of the items.
“They told us they don’t take food at night for ‘prisoners’,” Douglas claimed, adding: “It is sad to know they are calling our children prisoners; they don’t treat us good at all.”
The mothers, in the meantime, said DSP Edwards, on Tuesday, promised to provide them with some answers about their sons by today, December 13. However, when they contacted him this morning, he reportedly told them he would not be able to assist them today.
The Beacon has been trying to contact DSP Edwards via phone for days without success.
Meanwhile, the two mothers said they are not aware of their sons being involved in any criminal activity.
They added that they are unhappy with the ‘disrespect’ being meted out to them by police officers whenever they ask important questions.
The mothers also said, after six days of unsuccessfully seeking basic information about their sons’ detention, they are now at their wits’ end.
The state of public emergency, which gives the security forces power to detain people for protracted periods without charge, will end 2 January 2019 in the St Catherine North Police Division, which include Lluidas Vale, Linstead and Spanish Town.
The government wanted the state of emergency to be extended for another three months, but the Opposition People’s National Party voted against it, citing mainly the widespread and protracted detention of young men from the lower social class without charge.
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