An executive member of the Half-Way-Tree and New Kingston Citizens Association is calling on the police to take a more active role in their dealings with prostitutes and transvestites who occupy the ravines in the area whose residents they are “terrorizing”.
Michael Abrahams, who described his role in the association as a “watchdog”, told the Jamaica Observer that residents and bystanders were being attacked, robbed and even buggered, and now many people living in the area are choosing to leave.
“We have a situation where people are selling out and moving on, because they’ve had enough. In a particular housing estate along Ruthven Road, several people are selling their prosperity. Five out of about 12 people, and you wonder what’s going on here and we talk to them and they tell us they can’t go out at night, they can’t come in [and] they can’t leave anything out, so they sell and go somewhere else,” Abrahams told the Jamaica Observernoting that five people have left in the past year.
“A man was completely stripped naked and buggered. We have so far had about five such incidents in and around the area. It got out of control, in the night [around] 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. I think not enough is being done and people who are sometimes assaulted are afraid to come forward and make statements because of the behavior of the police. People have been accused of doing business with them,” Abrahams continued.
He added that, despite his numerous complaints to police personnel in the area, officers informed him that they had not received any victim impact statements on the matter and therefore could not act.
Abrahams said he was aware that the items stolen from the victims are given to various prostitutes to hide.
“When are we going to have laws that say the police can act without someone coming to talk to them?” asked a displeased Abraham.
He also pointed out that the targeted areas include Half-Way-Tree, Ruthven Road, Cecilio Avenue, Winchester, Knutsford Boulevard, Ardenne Road and Lady Musgrave Road.
“It happened to a young man who worked in the call center along Half-Way-Tree Road. He was walking to Half-Way-Tree Square to catch a taxi around 2 a.m. The staff bus usually takes too long to get him home, and the same thing happened to him. The youngster was embarrassed to the point of not going any further [with police investigations]. I further hear that he is one of the people who contracted syphilis and another young man who contracted herpes,” Abrahams said, referring to a story published in the Observer last month, in which the man described being attacked by a group of at least eight people, including a woman, carrying machetes and knives.
Meanwhile, Corporal Christopher Tapper of the New Kingston Police Division told the Sunday Observer that the police were aware of the problem in the area.
“I can assure you that we have had cases of reports. However, not many [are] documented because when people come to report to us, they say they prefer no action to be taken and they don’t provide the information [needed], so we haven’t documented much in the log. People are very reluctant to report officially and even if we hear about it, we can’t compel a man to report,” Tapper said, echoing Abrahams’ statements.