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French Quarter protest prompts immediate Gendarmerie patrols

page10d121MARIGOT--Extra Gendarmerie and Police patrols, both mobile and foot patrols, in the area of French Quarter where fires have been occurring for the past two months, will be implemented with immediate effect.

This was one of the measures taken at an hour-long emergency meeting between elected officials of the Collectivité, Social Services, Préfecture, Gendarmerie, Territorial Police and French Quarter District representatives during Wednesday’s protest over lack of security in the district.

District Representative Steven Patrick reported that the family of eight, evicted back in September, whose children were long suspected of causing the fires, was due to be relocated to French Cul-de-Sac Wednesday afternoon from temporary accommodation in French Quarter.

“I think by just getting this family out of the neighbourhood will calm a lot of nerves,” said Patrick.

The family that lost their house in Tuesday’s fire meanwhile are staying in a guest house organised by the Collectivité until alternative accommodation can be found.

The Vice-Prosecutor will also be reviewing the files of the suspects, mostly minors, to see if further action can be taken in terms of transferring them to special institutions or correctional facilities in Guadeloupe.

“We learnt that one of the kids admitted involvement in one of the fires, and his case comes up in November,” Patrick disclosed. “He is one of the kids from the family of eight. The other two suspects denied involvement and were released.

“The problem the Gendarmerie has is that it needs cooperation from the public. But nobody is volunteering information. With regard to those 13 fires, nobody reported seeing anything and that is disturbing. And this is why the investigation is dragging on.”

Patrick said the meeting produced sufficient answers to unblock the road and that was duly done at 12:15pm.

“It was a positive step forward. I wouldn’t say I was completely satisfied, but I was happy with the effort made. But if this family is not moved to Cul-de-Sac, and if these incidents occur again, then the road will be blocked again.”

Vice-President Wendel Cocks said the Gendarmerie patrols, while not on a 24-hour basis, will bring back tranquillity to the neighbourhood.

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