Courthouse on compound of police station burglarised
Cops believe it's an inside job, furious councillor suggests security failureFriday, October 15, 2021
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — As questions swirled as to how a courthouse building on the compound of the police station here was broken into yesterday, head of the St Elizabeth police, Superintendent Narda Simms, suggested it could have been an inside job.
“The culprit who went in knew where the key was for a particular safe and all of these things, meaning it had to be somebody that had a particular access,” Simms told councillors of the St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation.
Proceedings at the courthouse — originally intended for Petty Sessions Court when it was first opened in 2007 but now used by the Parish Court — were postponed following the burglary.
Simms, who spoke by remote access — which was sometimes interrupted and eventually terminated by connectivity issues — said police investigations are often challenged because a number of incidents, including some of “the bigger break-ins” are “inside jobs”.
She added that “most of these things are not just random … there are people on the inside … so let's not jump to too many conclusions because whomever went in there was familiar …”
Simms gave no indication of what was taken from the facility, which is mere metres immediately behind a much older two-storey building accommodating the police station on the ground floor and a court room with accessory space atop. However, she said police detectives were diligently conducting their investigations.
Sources say sanitation items and undisclosed documents were stolen during the break-in, which is believed to have happened between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Further reports suggest that the judges' chambers had been ransacked.
Simms's comments at the monthly meeting of the municipal corporation followed Councillor Jeremy Palmer (Jamaica Labour Party, Pedro Plains Division) questioning how such a thing could have happened on the compound of the Santa Cruz Police Station.
“The question in my mind as a citizen is 'how is it that a courthouse less than a half chain from the police station could have been broken into with impunity'?” Palmer said.
After Simms's virtual participation in the meeting was terminated by the technological breakdown, a disgusted Palmer, who is a former mayor of Black River and chairman of the municipality, told his colleagues that the incident reflected “a failure of security”.
The fact that the police were investigating was not the issue, he argued.
Said he: “…whether it is Labour (JLP) in power or PNP (People's National Party) … there are so many things in Jamaica which continue to make me [feel] like an angry young man … There are certain things in Jamaica that I am not going to accept as normal. One of them is that is you can walk into a police compound, bruk into the courthouse, yu find what yu want, walk back out and no police is there …”
— Garfield Myers and Kasey Williams