The Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committee is one of the most active neighborhood watch groups in the country. The group was formed in 2011, when the community was shaken by a series of criminal activities. The committee has since grown in number and has made a significant impact in the Bishop Martin area. Members of the committee were guests on this morning’s Rise and Shine. Chairman of the committee is Alberto Palma.
Alberto Palma – Chairman of the Committee
The Bishop Martin Neighbourhood Watch Committee is about 15 months old. It started in October of 2011. In our area in Santa Elena crime was getting way out of control and there were a lot of Home Invasions in out area. In front of my house there was a Home Invasion around 8 p.m. in the night. That woke us up. We said this thing is really coming to us now, and we need to do something about it. We formed a Committee. We have four of our members that have joined the Special Constables. We have a Special Constables Committee now, of which I an the President. So we are working together with the Police. We already decided the Police can’t do it all on their own. They can’t be everywhere. They need the help of the community, and we need the police also. We have decided to join together and work hand in hand. Together I think we can have a better community.
The group does more than safeguard the neighborhood however; they also organize other community initiatives, one of which is taking place this Saturday. Zoila Palma, secretary of the committee, explains.
Zoila Palma – Secretary of the Committee
This Saturday, March the 2nd at 5 a.m., we’re going to come out to clean up Santa Elena Town. We have invited all the Neighbourhood Watch Committees. They are going to join us for this day. We’re going to meet at Mr Albert James residence. From there we’re going to go into groups to clean up the streets.
According to the group, one of the primary sources of crime in the area has been as a result of excessive drinking. In light of this, they have requested that the Liquor Licensing Board prohibit persons from selling alcoholic beverages 24/7. But as Vice-Chairman, Dito Juan told us, these concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
Dito Juan – Vice-Chairman
When the Liquor Licensing Board had their meeting to approve or disapprove licenses, we we’re there as a Neighbourhood Watch Committee picketing, and telling them which licenses we don’t want them to renew, and telling then the reasons why. We’re totally against Convenience Licence. In the Convenience License, that authorize the person that has the License to open 24/7, to sell Liquor 24/7. We have had killings inside these establishments. Mr Moody told us finally, he say “Well I think you all will convince them.” Because they will not issue Licenses to A, B, and C. Lo and behold, when the end of the month came, they all got their licenses.
But they’re not throwing in the towel just yet, the committee says they plan to hold a mass demonstration against the Board’s decision.
Dito Juan – Vice-Chairman
We’re planning to launch a demonstration. That will be the 15th of March. We are inviting all the other 18 Neighbouring Watches to join us in this demonstration. But beside that, we’re inviting the general public, especially those people who are suffering because of the noise all night, noise polution, [and] the crimes that take place close to their homes.