BY KARYL WALKER Editor — Crime/Court Desk [email protected]
Sunday, October 13, 2013
FIGHTS, sex, robberies and rampant indiscipline have erased the pride that was evident inside the $4.3-billion Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre when it was officially opened in January 2008.
High school students who show no respect for authority and who, according one Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) official, won’t hesitate to attack and harm adults.
Linval Thompson, the man charged with managing the transport centre on behalf of the State-owned JUTC, said that the unruly behaviour of the teenage students have JUTC staff and the police personnel assigned to keep order in the centre stretched to the limit.
“On a Friday it is just madness,” Thompson told the Jamaica Observer. “The children come here and they do not leave the park until late in the evening. They are involved in all kinds of activities.”
His claim was corroborated by Sergeant April McFarlane, who heads the team of cops assigned to police the centre.
“On a Friday it’s chaos. The students don’t want to leave. They come to the bus park and linger. The girls arrange to meet men they met on the Internet. We have caught children having sex in the bathroom. They fight every day, but on a Friday it gets worse. We have found every form of weapon that you could imagine,” Sergeant McFarlane said.
Last Friday afternoon when the Sunday Observer visited the transport centre, children were seen openly hugging each other.
One boy had his head buried deep in a girl’s bosom, while two girls were seen holding hands in a more than friendly manner. The children embraced and sometimes gyrated against each other in full view of adults, some of whom seemed fearful to reprimand them.
Hundreds of students crammed inside the lower level of the bus centre converted the facility into a beehive of activity. The noise was deafening.