Oshane Powell, 21, in his Rusea’s High School graduation gown.
NEGRIL, Westmoreland — For the second time in as many days, residents of West End here have staged a fiery protest following the deaths of two young men from this resort town on Tuesday.
The men — 21-year-old Oshane Powell and his cousin Renaldo “Barry” Johnson — lost their lives in an apparent freak accident when a wire from an electricity pole fell on to the road and hit the motorcycle on which they were travelling in the Westland Mountain community of Negril.
Fire was set to tyres on the West End main road Tuesday evening and again yesterday morning, impeding tourists, people heading to work and children on their way school.
According to an alleged eyewitness, Barry was driving his motorcycle on the West End main road, when on reaching the crossroads entrance to Wetland Mountain, a Jamaica Public Service (JPS) transmission line fell across the roadway, giving off sparks as it whipped its way on the road before hitting the motorcycle.
The transmission line reportedly became detached from one of its connection points, where residents allegedly saw sparks.
Residents say the driver received burns to his body while there were no visible burns on his pillion passenger. Both men reportedly died on the spot.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, said the faulty wire was allegedly reported to the light and power company on Monday by more than one resident, but nothing was done.
“I am feeling very disturbed for the youth them weh get electrocuted by the current. Because, yes, this is Negril and this is a tourist town and anybody could be passing at the time when things like this happen…” a Rastaman said on Tuesday.
He added: “[This] is a height of carelessness from JPS. Carelessness caused this thing fi happen today (Tuesday), because a something dem should a come attend to, maintain, and make sure say if dem go up there and see these things, dem fix it and make sure these things don’t happen.”
In a statement issued yesterday, the light and power company said investigations were under way into the situation involving the two men who were riding on the motorcycle when they reportedly came into contact with an electrical wire and subsequently died.
“JPS regrets the unfortunate loss of life in any circumstance and wishes to express condolences to the families,” the light and power company said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”
The company said it was also working with members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force as they work to bring calm to the area, as well as access to the community.
“As soon as access is available, JPS teams are on standby to restore electricity and to continue the investigation into the matter,” the release said, adding that the JPS remained committed to safety at the highest standards in delivering supply to all customers.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the Negril Destination Council Elaine Allen Bradley described yesterday’s protest as “terrible”.
“The season starts and if you know the amount of tourist in Negril now. It is terrible man. It is terrible,” she said. “Somebody needs to do something. How can we have this lawless thing happening in this day and age?”