MP calls for thorough investigation into controversial Clarendon crashSunday, June 13, 2021
CLARENDON, Jamaica — Pearnel Charles Jr, the Clarendon South East Member of Parliament in whose constituency the controversial accident — involving two fatalities and six injured — occurred on Saturday evening, has called for a thorough investigation into the incident, which has seen fingers being pointed at the police.
“Because we don't know exactly what happened, we, like the residents, are calling for the truth and justice which means it needs to have a full and comprehensive investigation,” Charles Jr, who said he had been on the scene from moments after 6:00 this morning, told the OBSERVER ONLINE.
“Residents rightfully are very anxious, scared, upset over the deaths, I have advised them and encouraged them that anyone who has information who saw what happened should report it to the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and report it to the police and if they have any fear in doing so they should let me know so we can assist in ensuring their safety,” the MP said.
Charles Jr, who said his phone had been inundated with calls regarding the incident which led to a protest being mounted in the area, said the information he received was that sometime between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm on Saturday there was a car accident in the vicinity of the Watson Town church near Lionel Town.
“I was advised that there were between eight and nine persons in the vehicle and they were all rushed to the hospital with injuries. Two have succumbed to their injuries at the hospital and the others are being treated, some who I am told were in critical condition,” he stated.
The Member of Parliament said reports were that the driver of the car with the individuals aboard were on their way from a grave-digging exercise for a family member en route to Lionel Town to drop off some persons when he was signalled by the police to stop.
He said in refusing to be pulled over “that's how the incident occurred”.
“They drove off. People in the area have remarked that they heard gunshots but those gunshots were after the accident, there is nothing to either confirm or establish that any of the persons involved in the accident received gunshot wounds. In speaking to persons who work at the hospital none of them have reported seeing any gunshot wounds on any of the persons in their preliminary assessment of them,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE.
The MP however noted that an autopsy would have to be performed on the victims to establish whether this was so or not.
“I have spoken to the head of INDECOM who came on the scene with his examiners and they commenced their investigations last night. I spoke with the head of the Jamaica Constabulary for the area and the team and they have been on-site assisting trying to find out what took place and they were there to monitor the protest as well,” he said.
The MP said the “lack of information” and the “different versions being circulated” of the incident had fuelled some anger.
“I think things have calmed down now, more facts have been revealed. I just left the area. The place was generally cleared and the remnants of the protest will be removed in due time,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE.
In the meantime, Charles Jr said he had also spoken to family members of the victims.
“I expressed my condolences and I indicated to them that I would do everything to assist in having a complete investigation so they are assured of all the facts so they know how it happened. It is already sad for them to lose a family member but I think it's worse when there are so many stories and versions going around as to how it happened,” he said.
“The victims were related (to the individual for whom the grave-digging was held) so you can appreciate the gravity of the sorrow and challenge that the family is facing, not only losing one family member but three,” he pointed out.
Police officers who spoke to OBSERVER ONLINE were particularly put out by what they said was the volume of misinformation circulating about the incident, including that the car involved in the incident was in the possession of the Lionel Town police and had bullet holes.
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