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Two teenage boys were behind stoning incident at Richland Park – COP Charles

Two teenage boys were behind stoning incident at Richland Park – COP Charles

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Police have confirmed that two teenagers were behind a stone-throwing incident that took place at a New Democratic Party (NDP) fund-raiser at Richland Park last weekend.

However, up to press time yesterday, police were unable to say who or what, the boys, aged 13 and 14 years old, were stoning.{{more}}

“They admitted they were throwing stones. This is what I have right now. I don’t have anything else on the matter right now,” Commissioner of Police Michael Charles told SEARCHLIGHT.

He further stated that rumors that the boys had been pelting wax apples could not be confirmed at that time. He however said the Mesopotamia police are still carrying out investigations into matter and will update him on their findings.

As a result of the still ongoing investigations, Curtis Bowman, NDP candidate for the area, says he cannot say if the matter was politically motivated.

He said at the time of the incident, he was at a food stand with his two children trying to get some food, when he heard a loud bang on the roof of the building, as if stones had been pelted.

He explained that minutes after, he saw “Tall Boy,” a groundsman at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex, coming towards him with blood running down the side of his face.

“Being a pharmacist…I tried to get some assistance for him to stop the bleeding and so. As minor as the cut or chop might have been, it bled a lot. I didn’t even know until after, someone told me he had on a hat and he still got the chop on his head,” Bowman said.

“The entire atmosphere changed from a happy mood to a mood that was not so happy. People were walking around with their hands over their head because they didn’t know if more stones might be fired.”

The NDP candidate told SEARCHLIGHT that he cannot say whether the incident was politically influenced or not until the police have concluded their investigations.

While he has heard reports that the act was carried out by children trying to stone wax apples off a tree, Bowman noted that he was not clear as to who the perpetrators were.

“I am not in a position to say that. I have to wait and see how the investigation unfolds. I have to wait and see if it is mischievous children, as it was circulated, or if it was intentional. There’s a wax apple tree some distance away, but I don’t know,” he said.

Although Bowman refrained from labelling the incident as political, other NDP supporters have, something Unity Labour Party (ULP) candidate for Marriaqua St Clair Jimmy Prince says is being done by the Opposition party to gain political mileage.

“Three little boys were on the bank above the building and they were throwing stones over. It was reported that they were stoning wax apples and two people got injured,” Prince told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Wednesday.

“My information is that the two people, boys, are children in age 10 to 12 years old. Therefore, I don’t see anything in that in terms of election violence. It was a fact that the stones were thrown, but it’s no way we can construe that as election violence.”

Prince, who was not at the event at the time of the incident, added that he had no reason to doubt his information, as his source was an individual who was there at the time of the event and who saw the boys after the incident took place.

“The information was given to me by one of the NDP supporters at the barbecue, who said he chased them down. He ran behind them and caught them. He is a supporter of the NDP. Why would he lie?” the ULP candidate said.

Prince acknowledged that it was unfortunate that persons were injured as a result of the incident and wished them a speedy recovery. However, he declared that it was unfair for the NDP to insinuate that the episode was instigated by supporters of the ULP.

“I think they’re trying to milk it politically. Trying to milk as much political mileage out of it,” Prince said.

“I do not condone that kind of behaviour. In fact, people know me. People know I don’t condone that foolishness of stoning buildings at election time or anytime for that matter, but they were children. I consider them pranksters. People do foolishness sometimes.”

Both candidates for Marriaqua are, however, calling for a peaceful and violence-free election. Prince expressed hope that the incident would not cause persons to think that they needed to be violent.

“I hope people understand what the truth is and that we will continue the elections in Marriaqua in as peaceful a fashion as we have been doing over the years,” he said.

“It’s one of the few constituencies where you have ULP and NDP co-existing together as if they all are one party. People have their views, have their affiliations; we do not have a culture of violence in our politics and I don’t see why we should change that.”

Meanwhile, Bowman told SEARCHLIGHT that he condemns any acts of violence and called on Vincentians to engage in violence-free campaigns during this election year.

“Let us still be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Because I am from Richland Park and I don’t expect anyone to be firing stones at me,” he said.(BK/KW)

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