Gun found, several detained in Gregory Park operation

MORE than 40 members of a joint police/military team swooped down on the community of Gregory Park in Portmore, St Catherine, on Wednesday where they seized one illegal firearm and brought in a number of persons of interest for questioning.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Stephanie Lindsay, who heads the constabulary’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), told the Jamaica Observer that the illegal gun was found in a section of the community where an entire tenement yard was recently destroyed during a firebombing, allegedly carried out by men from another section of Gregory Park known as Gulf.

Eleven wooden houses were set on fire, badly burning an elderly woman who is still in hospital in serious condition and leaving more than 40 people homeless. With nowhere to go, they are left to the mercy of the elements.

According to SSP Lindsay, the security forces will be in Gregory Park for some time.

“Operations will continue until we are satisfied that it is no longer necessary. On Walkers’ Avenue a team found a gun and arrested two men. We carried out operations in search of wanted men and guns and some persons of interest in the firebombing. The two people will be charged for illegal possession of firearm. The police have others who they are interviewing to determine who they are,” Lindsay told the Observer.

Scorched rubble remained untouched and women, young children, and babies were seen sprawled out, trying to rest on tarpaulin that had been spread on the ground in the yard.

Karona Gocul, whose mother was badly burnt during the firebombing, said the elderly woman’s condition is worsening in hospital.

What Gocul wants is to move out of Gregory Park as she believes the violence is just getting started and fears for her life and that of her children. “Right now I would love to get a house and pay mortgage for it. I don’t think if I want to live here anymore,” she said.

Gocul explained that she and the other people left homeless by the firebombing have not had a chance to get proper rest.

“We don’t get any chance to sleep. We rest our heads for a five minutes and then we jump up back. The good thing is that the Member of Parliament (MP) Alando Terrelonge said he would sort out the children for back-to-school and that they [Government] will try their best to move fast, but life is risky for us right now.

“As you can see, a pure open space. We don’t have a corner to hide if anything. We need more than urgent attention. Peter Bunting of the People’s National Party came with a team and they said they would try to get us help fast. We showed them where we sleep outside. I can’t even be ashamed of my conditions, because it is not my fault,” she said.

One woman, who was lying down on the ground with an uncomfortable and fidgety baby held close to her chest, told the Observer that never in her wildest dreams did she ever foresee that she would be living in this state. “This is not something that we are used to, so it is very hard for us,” she said.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Andrew Holness, along Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson and MP Terrelonge toured the area that was impacted by the firebombing.

Holness said that the houses that were destroyed would be rebuilt under the Government’s social housing programme.