Residents, firearm holder clash at roadblock ... police downplay incident
A senior lawman poured cold water on an incident that unfolded during a protest about road conditions in New Market, St Elizabeth, after residents mobbed a licensed firearm holder, threatening to confiscate his weapon in the presence of the police.
Commander for the parish, Superintendent Lanford Salmon, yesterday told THE STAR that the incident was nothing to report on, and said the firearm was not taken from the person, contrary to popular belief.
"All I understand is that the licensed firearm holder went to the scene to assist with clearing the block. His weapon was seen and the group (protesters) became agitated. The police were there and removed the man," said Salmon.
But THE STAR got a different tale from residents during a visit to the area last week.
A resident told THE STAR, "Di man truck did block during the protest so him decide to clear the road because the police dem was there. The fireman dem was there and we tell dem fi leave the blockage because this is not a police and fireman thing, this is the people and MP thing."
Our news team was told that the truck driver did not adhere to the warning and during a heated exchange, allegedly threatened to harm anyone who attacked him.
"We tell him (truck driver) leave the block and him say him a go chop up people. Then the man dem move in on him and chuck off on him and disarm him on a level. When di police dem see say the man outnumbered and what a go gwan, dem select dem weapon so the man dem balance," the resident said.
The residents also told THE STAR that the police told them that if the truck driver had shot them, they would be at fault and nothing would come of it.
The residents staged protests and blocked the roadways at different points over a four-day period.