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JAMAICA | PNP Says East Portland Shooting linked to vote buying

KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 4, 2019: The People’s National Party (PNP) says the shooting incident on Sunday, March 31, 2019 on West Street, near the temporary operational headquarters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is related to vote buying and the distribution of money ahead of the election in East Portland.

The Party has therefore called for a full investigation into the incident by the Police and the Political Ombudsman, pointing out that vote buying is illegal under the laws of Jamaica.

The PNP has further urged JLP General Secretary, Dr. Horace Chang to desist from making reckless and inflammatory statements about the incident which can fuel unnecessary hostility.

In a release, the PNP disclosed that several sources familiar with the incident have alleged that the shooting is related to a disagreement among JLP supporters who were in the process of collecting payment for roles they were assigned on Election Day, including the demobilization of communities labelled PNP strongholds.

The PNP said this dirty political manoeuvre by the JLP, aimed at voter suppression and thuggery to gain political advantage, was not new. It noted that this behaviour had featured in the recent by election in South East St Mary where JLP supporters battled and injured each other over the distribution of politically inspired de-bushing work.

In light of this, the PNP said the statement by the JLP General Secretary was disappointing and disingenuous as it seemed to suggest that the shooting incident was politically motivated. By doing so, the PNP said Dr. Chang had tainted the reputation of an entire community and associated innocent individuals with a vote-buying atrocity which is illegal under the law.

In calling for the full investigation into the matter, the PNP also urged the police to disclose the current state of their investigation into the shootings. The Party wants the police to state whether the victim of the second shooting, who survived the attack, has been interrogated and provided any information on his attackers.

The Party said the police should state whether any witness who was in the vicinity of the temporary operational headquarters of the JLP had been interviewed about the incident. The PNP also wants the police to state whether there is any truth to information that the Crime Chief and principal investigator in the recent incident is the spouse of a well-known JLP councillor in the Lime Hall Division of the St Ann municipality and is campaigning in East Portland, pointing out that this would be a conflict of interest.

The PNP is also asking the police to say if the Mayor of Kingston was present at the shooting incident and was a statement taken from him as a witness to said event. The Party has formally conveyed its concerns in this matter to the police high command.

"We urge the police high command to take the necessary steps to prevent any trace of politicizing of the policing activities in the East Portland by election as the integrity of the profession should not be sacrificed for political gains," the PNP said.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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