Residents of Lluidas Vale in St Catherine North West are protesting after gunmen again invaded the centre of their community last night, reportedly fired more than 20 rounds, robbed persons at two business establishments, and threw the few police officers under severe pressure.
The main organizer of the protest, who asked for anonymity at this time, told The Beacon that residents blocked sections of the roadway shortly after the intense gunfire, but partially cleared it this morning to allow people to leave the district for school and work.
He noted that gunmen took over the community on many other occasions in recent times, robbed businesses, invaded parties, and even left police officers injured.
The protest organizer expressed fear that people may soon be murdered, adding that the local crime situation is the worst he has seen in the 27 years he has been in his hometown.
“We need some justice now; we feel like the road need to be blocked,” he told The Beacon. “People may get hurt the next time. The gunmen have invaded the community more than 1, 2, 3, 4 times. A 20-add rounds dem beat off last night. Dem walking around beating shots like dem a police.”
The protest organizer is also lamenting what he considers to be the incapacity of the police to handle the criminals.
He added that residents want the new police station, which is being constructed near the town centre, to be opened urgently before the Christmas holiday.
The station was set to be completed a year ago, but construction works are just coming to an end now. The police, who were relocated from the town centre to facilitate construction, are now operating from a remote area of the community – on the outskirts of a canefield.
The protest organizer further stated that, based on the experience last night, the police need help.
“It took the police 25 minutes after the shots were fired to reach the scene, and the police were saying only two of them working and they got orders to not leave the station because there are only two of them,” he claimed.
Lluidas Vale is among communities in the St Catherine North Police Division that have been under a state of public emergency. Residents however stated that there is no sign that more resources have been deployed to the community despite the frequent gun attacks.
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