Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Violence mars election campaign
Jamaica Observer
Sunday, October 06, 2002


Jamaica Labour Party leader, Edward Seaga (with microphone), addressing supporters during an election campaign tour of Barbican and Grants Pen in the Corporate Area yesterday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

The People's National Party (PNP) yesterday condemned the incidents of violence in Eastern St Thomas during which a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporter was shot and injured, while Opposition Leader Edward Seaga said that rising tensions and gun violence would not be a deterrent to his party's election campaign.

Declaring the incident in Bath, St Thomas, as a brazen and unfortunate one, Seaga said that a pattern of aggression had been noticed against the JLP but that would not deter the will of the party's supporters to boot the government from office.
The Morant Bay Police last night confirmed that there had been a shooting incident mid-way a constituency tour being led by the JLP leader in the area on Friday and that they were investigating the matter.

People's National Party president, P J Patterson (in cap at centre), is greeted by jubilant supporters in the Cassava Piece area of Kingston yesterday. Also in photo is Barbara Clarke (right, in cap), the PNP candidate for North Central St Andrew. (Photo: John Nicholson)

At the same time, the PNP suggested that the JLP supporters instigated the violence.
"Reports reaching the party indicate that earlier in the day residents of the Bath community came under attack from persons travelling in a JLP motorcade. During the attack, the office of a building contractor was set afire," the PNP said in a release. The PNP said that it condemned the violence and that the incidents were having the effect of tainting the political process.
Maxine Henry-Wilson, the PNP's general-secretary urged supporters not to retaliate, regardless of who started the violence. She also urged the security forces to take charge of the situation.
Yesterday, the PNP also said that Information Minister Colin Campbell and a 25-member touring party were shot at in Goldsmith Villa, adjacent to the Hermitage community of August Town in East St Andrew on Friday evening.

According to the PNP, Campbell and his team were on their way to inspect a disputed polling station when they were fired upon twice, between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. Police officers on the scene returned the fire on both occasions and no one was hurt, the PNP said.
The Constabulary Communication Network (CCN), confirmed the shooting incident but said they could not confirm that Campbell and his supporters were the targets.
"Shots were fired in the area at that time but we are not sure if they were directed at the minister and his team. The situation is being investigated," a corporal at the CCN said.

Both parties have, however, issued a joint release on behalf of Clarendon political leaders, Mike Henry (JLP) and Horace Dalley (PNP) calling for peace between both sides.
"Following several violent incidents involving rival JLP and PNP party supporters in Clarendon, the leadership of both parties in the parish met today to discuss the issue. ... the meeting was convened out of concern among the leadership of both parties in the parish that the reported clashes between rival supporters must be brought to an end," the release said.
Both leaders called on candidates on both sides to exercise strong leadership and control over their supporters so that acts such as stoning of motorcades do not recur.