A High Court judge yesterday sharply criticised the police’s failure to stop romantic liaisons between children on the grounds of the St James Parish Library, which sits across from the St James Parish Court in downtown Montego Bay.
While presiding over the ongoing Hilary session of the St James Circuit Court yesterday, Justice Glen Brown revealed that he himself had witnessed minors involved in improper behaviour, including the smoking of marijuana, on the library compound just last week.
“I’ve made reference to what’s happened over at the library, with the schoolchildren, so that the police should take charge. On Thursday (January 16), I walked over there and I saw everything, with the kids hugging up and smoking ganja,” Brown said while addressing attorneys in the courtroom.
“When I hear and see these things, I don’t keep it to myself. I speak to it in my platform (capacity as a judge), and nothing is done. As close as the courthouse is, there is no police officer there,” said Brown.
The judge’s comments come a day after disgruntled library staff mounted placards at the St James Parish Library’s entrance to voice their anger about poor working conditions and safety concerns, including being insulted when they confront children who use the 68-year-old building as a meeting place for sex.
The protest was triggered by a fire that was lit on a section of the library compound on Saturday, January 18, resulting in a loss of electricity and running water to the building. Both utilities have since been restored, but the library was shuttered early on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and was also closed for much of the morning yesterday to facilitate a staff meeting.
Brown also said that a more active police presence was needed to bolster security in the vicinity of courthouses.