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Rioting forces shutdown of hotel project

Posted by Dresonic on February 28, 2007

Worker shot and injured; offices, motor vehicles destroyed

LUCEA, Hanover – Work on the US$150-million Fiesta Hotel development at Point, near Lucea, has been suspended indefinitely, following a violent clash between construction workers, the police and security guards.

One construction worker was shot and injured, while fire was set to three offices and several motor vehicles belonging to the Spanish hotel chain.

The injured worker, Alvan Campbell, 54, of Prosper in the parish, was admitted to the Cornwall Regional Hospital and was last night said to be in stable condition.

Last night, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, in a statement, called for a full investigation into the disturbance, and expressed sympathy to the injured worker.

Simpson Miller, according to Jamaica House, instructed her minister of development, Donald Buchanan, to convene an urgent meeting of the parties involved to try and arrive at an early resolution.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake (left) addressing workers in front of the Fiesta Hotel development at Point, near Lucea, after an uproar in which sections of the property were set ablaze by protesting workers .

According to a member of Acid Security firm, employed by Fiesta, the conflict began after the management of the Spanish hotel chain gave orders that workers without identification cards should not be allowed on the premises.

The security officers said the situation worsened after guards closed the gates at 8:00 am and refused to allow workers without IDs to enter.

Workers, upset that they were locked out because they did not have their IDs, threw bottles and stones at security guards, who opened fire in defence, hitting Campbell, who had only just alighted from a cab and was in the process of paying his fare and was not a part of the stone-throwing workers.

However, angry workers, in retaliation, ripped open the gate and set fire to the canteen located near the gate of the property, the main office, the equipment office and six motor vehicle, including two trucks, destroying them. Six other vehicles received minor damage during the riot.

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