Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says that the Government will be providing additional bed space to accommodate members of the homeless community in the Corporate Area.
“At the end of February, work should commence on another 150 beds,” he said, noting that 100 of these will be established at the Marie Atkins Night Shelter.
Mr. Holness said that the police will be increasing patrol of the areas that homeless persons usually frequent.
The Prime Minister was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (January 26), where he condemned the recent heinous attacks on homeless men in Kingston and St. Andrew.
Four homeless men were killed and two others wounded, while they slept on Sutton Street, downtown Kingston and in the Half-Way- Tree area of St. Andrew between Sunday night (January 24) and Monday morning (January 25).
“When I saw the news [Monday] morning, like all Jamaicans, I was deeply distraught,” the Prime Minister told the House.
He noted that the police is actively investigating the incidents, informing that one suspect is in custody in relation to the attacks in the Sutton Street area.
“They do have a suspect with strong evidence in their custody… [and] while they have not abandoned the theory that’s its coordinated, at present, it does not seem that way,” he told the House.
The Prime Minister noted that in addition to the night shelters, members of the homeless community can also access medical checks and assessments, a meal and other services at the drop-in centres.
He noted that some homeless persons prefer to remain on the streets at night rather than seek the services of the shelters, “and so we try to assist as much as we can. We support as much as we can,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding, in his remarks, said he appreciated the measures that have been outlined to increase shelter capacity and monitor areas where homeless persons frequent. “We really wouldn’t like to see this being a pattern,” he said.
He also expressed condolences to the families, who have been impacted.