Letters to the Editor

No piped water, yet police arrest man for bathing in spring

Monday, August 13, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I write this letter on behalf of community members in Ritchies District in the parish of Clarendon about an incident that took place on August 10, 2018.

A young man was taking a bath at the community spring when an officer attached to the Spalding Police Station arrested him for indecent exposure. The young man spent the night in the Christiana lock-up and was given a court date for September 27.

To our knowledge, bathing at the spring has been a practice for decades. The elderly in the community are quite shocked that the arrest took place.

I understand that this police officer is new to the area.

If the police want to build a better relationship with the community then I believe one of the most important steps is to get to know a little about their culture. The Rio Minho runs through the community, and so too does the natural spring, which is a source of water for domestic use for not only Ritchies but other adjoining communities. Most homes are without running water; therefore, children go to the spring to take a bath before school in the mornings. In the evenings, tired farmers after a hard day's work, can be seen taking a bath there. Taxi men also utilise the facility to wash their cars as well as take a bath when their day comes to an end.

If the age-old practice is deemed a problem a sign should be put up to indicate to the community members that they can no longer take baths there under threat of prosecution.

With all due respect, if the police wish to build a better relationship with citizens this rush to arrest can't be the method. They should go into these communities to learn about the culture, mingle with the citizens, talk to the elderly, and find out what interests the youth, then I can assure you they would be in a better position to protect our communities. Especially when police officers were transferred to a new area, they need to take the time to get to know the communities. Having seemingly failed to do that, they have made an innocent attempt at taking a bath at a spring — a custom that has spanned decades in the community consequent to an inadequate supply of domestic water — criminal.

As concerned law enforcement officers they need to think about the effect of their action on a community.

Concerned citizen

Clarendon

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