Jamaican PM: Don’t make MP’s death a political issue

Member of Parliament for East Portland Dr Lynvale Bloomfield

(Jamaica Observer) Prime Minister Andrew Holness has urged supporters of both major political parties to desist from making the death of MP for Portland Eastern Dr Lynvale Bloomfield a political issue.

The prime minister, speaking in Parliament Tuesday about the death of Dr Bloomfield, said that as the murder rate increases, the average Jamaican is now seeing it moving closer to them. However, he said the occasion offers an opportunity for both sides of the House of Representatives to reaffirm their cooperation in the fight against crime.

“That it has reached the House of Representatives should in some way spark us to dig deeper to find the solution. I believe what we could do is to reaffirm cooperation in the fight against crime,” Holness told the House.

“I’m paying tribute to Dr Bloomfield, I call upon the supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and I call upon the supporters of the PNP that there need not be any quarrel between us over the death of someone who gave his life representing the people of Jamaica,” he stated.

Jamaica PM Andrew Holness

“Just following what is being said in social media, and what I am hearing around me, I think that it is important, and I am certain that the leader of the Opposition, and those who will speak after, will join in the call: That we don’t make his death a political issue. We don’t bring it down to the lowest denominator of political discourse,” he added.

The prime minister said Bloomfield represented “the milk of human kindness” and what “Jamaica people refer to as ‘nice man’”.

In his tribute, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips suggested that the security forces do all it can in pursuing the perpetrator of the murder.

“We ought to leave no stone unturned and we would hope that the security forces will be mobilised to the fullest extent to ensure that the savage killer(s) who snuffed out his life are identified and brought to justice,’ Dr Phillips said.

“It is not that we are not sensitive to the plight of others, because every murder really diminishes us in the country. But, as I said, the murder of this particular person who devoted his life to service, represents a particular low point in the deterrent that it will provide for others who might choose a life of service, and in its reflection of the depth of the social crisis which we face in the country,” he said.

He added that the disregard for the value of human life has spread far and wide in the country and has now threatened the collective survival and well-being of all.

“It behoves us in the face of this to find common cause, not only with each other in this chamber but, quite frankly, with all others of goodwill in the society. We have demonstrated before in our political system a capacity to respond to crisis, and I think this is one such occasion when we should, as they say, take stock of our country and make a determination as to how we will combine our energies to move forward,” he said.

Added Phillips: “A sense of sadness is also connected to the fact that it represents a particularly difficult phase of our national life. Because, in the attack on Dr Bloomfield, not only has a conscientious parliamentarian lost his life, but in fact it reflects a kind of devaluation, not just of human life, which has become all too common, but also a degradation of the respect with which parliamentarians and Parliament are held.”

“… I think it should provide us with a moment for collective reflection as to how we can together seek to reverse these trends which have been present for some time,” he added.

He said that Dr Bloomfield gave service to all Jamaicans, without questioning their political affiliation, in balancing the treatment that he gave to any of his constituents.

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