Thu | Feb 23, 2017

Bunting in a loveless marriage

Published:Wednesday | January 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM

There's something about our national security minister, Peter Murcott Bunting, that people seem to dislike. To the extent that any success he achieves in that area of government is often ignored like that loaf of bread, left on an otherwise empty shelf.

Bunting the man is a highly intelligent individual who was a scholar in his days at university in North America. He gives good interviews and feeds the impression that he informs himself before he speaks. The streets respect him as a man with 'paper', real 'paper'. The ladies, including few I know, fancy him. His achievements in business are worthy of study by any young professional with an appetite for success. He's a smooth, political operator with an impressive record at elections that saw him retire a former prime minister, tame a feisty, formidable former mayor and conquer a don. He has led a party secretariat that masterminded a devastating election win of the kind that not even the science of the best pollsters and 'warner-men' were able to predict. He's all of this and more. And yet, Peter Bunting can't even buy the first vowel in the word love from his countrymen.

the best year, statistically

Last year was statistically the best of the three years since Bunting took office, with double-digit reductions in all major crimes. We must not forget that when Bunting gave his half-yearly report to Parliament on July 15 last year, he told of a downward trend in major crimes that pretty much held until the end of the year. At July last year, murder was down 11 per cent compared to 2013, shootings by six per cent, rape by 17 per cent, acquisitory crimes by 11 per cent and police fatal shootings by 46 per cent. With the half-year report looking relatively good statistically and the full-year numbers looking the same, one could forgive Bunting for wondering why some people have, perhaps cruelly, ignored his ministry when they spoke about the best of the Cabinet in the past year.

How many of Bunting's predecessors have ever given a better half-yearly or calendar year report in their tenure? And yet, here stands Peter, reduced to being patted on the back by the partners from the European Union, staffed by people who've not lived here for a long time and who can retreat to the safety of their homes whenever the bad men rise the machines and the death toll starts to move again.

The critics say that even with low figures for major crimes being recorded in 2014, people still don't feel safe in their homes. So, according to them, despite the achievement of Bunting and his team, the fact that people retain a heightened fear of crime and violence means commendations have to be withheld. But is this not unfair on Bunting? Does not a diminished fear of crime and violence begin with a reduction in the rate and incidence of all major crime? So, if he has overseen such a reduction, why deny him the flowers? Why not admit that he's doing well even, though you want to see him do much, much more?

congratulations won't come

But there I go again. Asking questions for which I know the answer. The congratulations won't come Bunting's way because people simply don't like him. It's as if they've seen him do something objectionable before that stains their minds, rendering them incapable of ever speaking well about him. It's as if they've seen him pick his nose with one hand and then use that same hand to play in the face of the child of one of his fellow MPs from across the floor. It's as if they cannot get over how ridiculous he sounds contrasting every good thing the People's National Party does in office with how the Jamaica Labour Party handled matters concerning the extradition of Dudus. Poor Peter. Accused of engaging in self-fellatio, when all he's seeking to do is mark the achievements of last year as the basis for continued success in the new year. Hush, Peter. By now you should know how to navigate in this loveless marriage with us. Selah.

n George Davis is a journalist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.