HOMELESS MAN SET ON FIRE IN MOBAY…Advocate says culprits are wicked
Joy Crooks, an advocate for the homeless and mentally ill, has blasted what she calls the "cruel and wicked" hoodlums who doused a mentally ill man with a flammable substance and set him on fire in Montego Bay, St James, earlier this week.
"It's inhumane. And this is supposed to be a Christian country? My god! How could you look at another human being and douse him with petrol or gasoline, and light a matches and throw it on them?," Crooks questioned.
Crooks, who heads the Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill (CUMI), told THE STAR that she learned of the incident yesterday, when a passer by saw the man suffering from burn wounds along Orange Lane in the second city.
"The person who reported it to me said it was sickening, because the flies were all over him, in the wounds, so it couldn't have just happened, and that's why I called the hospital," she added.
"I was told that it's from his head, down one side of his face, front and back of his upper body. He had a trousers on, so they weren't sure if he was burnt under the trousers too," Crooks further explained.
When THE STAR contacted the said hospital, an officer in the psychiatric department confirmed that the seared man's wounds were dressed in the hospital's accident and emergency department, however, she could not provide additional details on his condition.
An officer at the Constabulary Communications Unit said the St James police have not received a formal report of the incident so no one has been held accountable.
Meanwhile, the Montego Bay-based activist noted that the case is not an isolated incident, as mentally ill patients are attacked and set ablaze in a similar fashion every three to six months.
"It happens more often than you'd want to believe. We had a client here who went through the same experience. He was doused in petrol and set alight," she said.
Crooks said she is appealing to persons to be more sympathetic to the homeless and mentally ill, as it could happen to anyone.