Flanker has changed for the better, councillor says

IN what he deems an incorrect assessment by the police of the Flanker community as a problem area, its Councillor Charles Sinclair (Jamaica Labour Party, Montego Bay North Western Division), is quite adamant that the characterisation does not accurately depict the changes that have occurred in the space.

“When the reference is made to the community of Flanker as if it is an area that is giving the St James police problems, I feel offended by that,” Sinclair told the Jamaica Observer following the monthly council meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation last Thursday.

Police chief for the parish Eron Samuels had indicated during his report to the council that he was seeking support as his officers seek to deal with areas like Flanker.

“I just want to crave the assistance of all the agencies and councillors, especially in the areas that are known problem areas,” Samuels said.

This did not go down well with Sinclair who said the community has been doing quite well in recent times and should be recognised for these efforts.

“In my community of Flanker I think they have come a far way over the years. In fact, we had a netball competition out there the other day where residents from all over the various spaces in the community came down to the netball court, and during the time I never saw any police. I was out there for about four to five hours and I did not see one police patrol,” he said.

Samuels had said during his report that the police have a continuous presence in the community, and that could be the factor behind the welcomed lull in certain activities.

Sinclair insisted that he is frustrated with the continuous labelling, despite the positive changes that have occurred.

“I think it is just a continuation of tarnishing a community that has been trying. And when we do that we create the wrong perception of a community with [those] people who are from outside the community, and so I had to stand in defence of the community of Flanker and the residents that live there to say that they have not been giving the St James police any problems,” he put forward.

He added that they should, in fact, be rewarded.

“The [people] may wish to have some social event within the community space, and [when they] apply for their permit — as the law requires of them — and they comply with the law then the police should give them the necessary permit. Reward them. Show them that, ‘You are doing well and we are going to ensure that you can enjoy your space with social events and so forth,’ and so I had to stand in defence of them,” he said.