Jamaica: Argument between colleagues leads to workplace shooting

The section of the Cornwall Regional Hospital where two construction workers were shot and injured yesterday by a colleague. (Photo: Philp Lemonte)

(Jamaica Observer) The police are seeking a construction worker who yesterday shot and injured two of his colleagues at the work site of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) where rehabilitation is under way.

The hospital is situated in Mount Salem, a zone of special operations (ZOSO) for the security forces since September 1, 2017.

Yesterday’s shooting is the first reported in the once volatile community since the ZOSO was declared in 2017. The area has undergone a significant transformation under the ‘clear, hold and build’ strategy, particularly in relation to accompanying social interventions.

According to regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority Errol Greene, the incident was triggered after a bucket accidentally fell and hit a foreman on the construction site at the hospital. The two injured men were taken to hospital where they received emergency treatment.

Greene said that following the accident a heated argument developed between a group of workers, one of whom left the scene and returned shortly after. Upon his return, about 15 minutes later, the man allegedly started arguing again about the incident, drew a gun and opened fire hitting two other workers.

“We have some construction work that is going on as a part of the rehabilitation of the Cornwall Regional Hospital. The contractor that is working on one of the projects had to get additional labour [and] he sought labour from within the confines of this (Mount Salem) community,” said Greene.

Senior medical officer at CRH Dr Derrick Harvey said last evening that the injured workers were in a critical but stable condition.

“… They are being evaluated and are getting the best care that they can. The evaluation continues and we expect a good outcome,” Dr Harvey said.

Greene, meanwhile, said counselling was sought for a number of workers at the facility who were left shaken up following the incident.

“The workers now at Cornwall are a little bit uncomfortable and restive. The CEO, the regional technical director, myself, Dr (Derrick) Harvey, the senior medical officer; Dr (Delroy) Fray, the clinical coordinator; and the matron met with members of the staff to reassure them. We are providing counselling where counselling is necessary, but it is really an unfortunate situation,” Greene said.

“We must thank the police who were quickly on the scene; they are doing a thorough investigation and they have assured that they will be leaving no stone unturned to ensure that justice is done,” Greene said.

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