Security guard accused of beating female vendor
Guardsman Ltd and the police have launched separate probes into the alleged beating of a female market vendor by a security guard in Montego Bay last Thursday, in the wake of national outrage over violence against women and an assault scandal that cast a shadow over a lawmaker. The vendor, Paulene Higgins, otherwise called ‘Dolly’, of Cambridge, St James, was treated for bruises, which were seen by The Sunday Gleaner, at a medical facility after she made a report at the Freeport Police Station. She spoke with our news team as she waited for the doctor.
The vendor said that the incident occurred shortly after 10 p.m. while she was packing away her goods. “I was in the market packing up mi things fi leave when mi see the Guardsman security guard come up and seh mi fi leave the market,” Higgins stated. “I told him that I don’t have any cart to push away my goods, so I am waiting on a cart,” she said, adding that the guard warned her that she should not be there when he returned.
“Few minutes time, him come back and seh, ‘Yuh nuh gone out yet?’ and him have a piece a board and him start lick mi wid it,” she told The Sunday Gleaner. Higgins said that other vendors soon intervened and he instructed them all to leave the facility. She said that she spent the night in pain on the road, unable to sleep.
Higgins further stated that, on Saturday morning, other vendors inside the market telephoned her family members and informed them of the incident, and her children travelled to the market and took her to the police station, then to the doctor. When contacted, manager of the Charles Gordon Market, Mickoyan Robinson, told The Sunday Gleaner that he was not at leisure to comment on the matter. “My lips are sealed in this regard because this is a matter of serious implications, and all I am able to say is that the incident has been brought to my attention and I am now ensuring that the reports are collected and sent off to the relevant authorities,” Robinson said.
Yesterday, dozens of disgruntled vendors at the Charles Gordon Market took to the streets to protest the alleged attack. The Freeport police have confirmed that a report of assault was made by Higgins against the security guard, and that an investigation has been launched.
“We are now awaiting a medical report from the complainant, and, based on the results, the accused will be picked up, questioned, and where criminal charges are necessary, they will be laid,” an officer said. Guardsman Ltd Communications Manager George Overton, and Robert Pullar, the operations manager at the Ironshore Office in Montego Bay, said that they did not have details of the alleged incident when contacted by our news team.
“Up to this point in time, we have no official report of this. We are trying to locate the two officers who worked [that] night, and they are not answering their phones,” said Overton. “They were not the only ones who worked at the location. Municipal officers were at the location and we have not been able to get in touch with them.
So we are investigating it at this point.”