The PNP says this statement made by the security minister must be resoundingly condemned and be immediately and completely withdrawn.
In a press statement, People's National Party’s (PNP) Chairman and Shadow Minister of National Security, Mr. Fitz Jackson, says this reckless and irresponsible statement is dangerous and all well-thinking Jamaicans must let their voices be heard in the effort to maintain the peacefulness of East Portland.
The shooting incident in Port Antonio on Thursday night left one man dead and two injured. The police report, issued on March 29, 2019, states that the “Preliminary investigation into the shooting death of one man and the injuring of two others at West Street, Port Antonio in Portland on Thursday, March 28, has indicated that the incident is not politically connected.” Further, information emerging asserts that at least one of those involved was well-known to be in regular conflict with the law and was on a charge of illegal possession of firearm.
The fact is that these men, at least one of whom had an outstanding serious criminal matter, were clad in JLP branded T-shirts and paraphernalia should be of concern to the Security Minister.
Mr Jackson said the security minister is grossly irresponsible in his comments and is derelict in his sworn duty to ensure the safety of citizens when he openly contradicts the police investigation and politicized the incident by blaming an entire innocent community for a matter that is still under investigation and for which the police preliminary assessment has found no political connection.
Mr Jackson pointed out that the people of the Free School area in East Portland, who have been singled-out in the JLP release as being responsible for the ‘aggression being meted out against the JLP' are now in fear of reprisal attacks because of the irresponsible partisan statement by Minister Chang.
He said it is unfortunate that this troubling incident is being used by Dr Chang, in his capacity as general secretary of the JLP, to attack an entire community, despite the fact that the police have already reported that their early findings suggest otherwise, that the incident is not political.
The Shadow Minister of National Security is calling on the Police High Command to immediately take steps to increase patrols in the area to protect the residents of the Free School community, and to advise the Security Minister against inciting violence through his belligerent utterances and misrepresentation of the facts surrounding the shooting incident. Minister Chang should be held responsible for any escalation of the ugly incident he falsely labelled political.
“We left behind the politics of fear and intimidation long ago. The people of East Portland deserve better and they must be allowed to enjoy the peaceful lifestyle that they have cultivated over many years, which is reflected in the very low all-around crime statistics for the parish,” Mr Jackson said.
Mr Jackson said he has received reports from several genuine residents of East Portland that persons aligned to the JLP have now taken up residency in sections of East Portland, as part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate voters and compromise the free and fair election process. He said it is incumbent upon the Political Ombudsman to investigate these allegations as the residents are fearful that this is part of a plan for violence to disrupt the democratic process.
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