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Wasn't Bunting playing politics with crime?

Published:Friday | November 6, 2015 | 11:00 AM
Kevin Sangster

I refer to the media release by the People's National Party (PNP) and the subsequent statement in Parliament on Tuesday by National Security Minister Peter Bunting, effectively chiding the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and its leader, Andrew Holness, for making "irresponsible" statements on the political campaign trail in respect of our alarming crime rate.

I wholeheartedly agree that our crime problem and, I dare say, education and health, are issues we should not deliberately, or irresponsibly seek to politicise, but rather around which we should aim to achieve maximum bipartisan support in an effort to move our country forward.

I question, however, the sincerity of National Security Minister Peter Bunting and the People's National Party, as well as their moral authority in so lecturing the JLP.

Was it not important to Minister Bunting, while in Opposition a few years ago, to keep the politics out of crime and seek to work with the then JLP Government to deal with our crime problem?

Was Minister Bunting, while in Opposition a few years ago, not playing politics with our crime problem when he would constantly opine, even if as idiotically advanced as I always felt, that Christopher 'Dudus' Coke and his Tivoli Gardens base, both maintaining support for the JLP, were the root cause of our crime problem, in particular murder?

Now that Dudus has been locked away in an American prison for over more than five years and the JLP turned over to the new PNP Government in 2012, a murder rate that was trending down relative to the start of the JLP's term in office, who or what is now causing the alarming spike in murders?

 

chiding and mocking

 

Was Minister Bunting, then in Opposition, not playing politics with our crime problem when he was chiding and mocking the JLP on the campaign trail for not having a grip on our crime problem and for changing the national security minister three times within about a year or so?

Perhaps, the JLP, as the better manager of our country's affairs, will not hesitate to change ministers of government if they are not performing or exhibiting the greatest competence, rather than to, as is especially the case with this PNP administration, maintain non-performers or incompetent persons in ministries while the nation's affairs suffer.

Was Minister Bunting, while in Opposition a few years ago, not playing politics with our crime problem when he and the PNP refused to lend support to the then JLP Government for the extension of the state of emergency in St Catherine to decimate one of the nations most notorious criminal organisations, the Clansman Gang, with alleged links to the PNP, as how the Tivoli gang was rooted out?

Have Minister Bunting and the PNP, now that they are in Government, finally had their Damascus Road experience, or do they now only find it necessary to call for bipartisan support for crime because they are the ones now feeling the heat in the kitchen?

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness might have stressed or dramatised his point a little much by asking voters to vote out the PNP if they want to be able to go to bed again without locking their doors and waking up alive the following day. Certainly, our crime problem would not be solved overnight upon a JLP victory at the upcoming polls.

What is patently clear, however, as our statistics show, is that our crime problem is better handled, and murder generally trends down, whenever the JLP forms the government, perhaps, in part, because the JLP is unquestionably the better manager of our economic affairs.

- Kevin K.O. Sangster is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and sangstek@msn.com.