Wed | Jun 19, 2019

Mark Wignall | Dangerous speculation on Bloomfield’s murder

Published:Thursday | February 7, 2019 | 12:13 AM

Many of our people with too rich a vein of politics in their blood seem either to not know about the politically tragic period of 1976 to 1980 or have conveniently forgotten it.

The recent horrific murder of Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, a sitting member of parliament, has created an embarrassing first for Jamaica. Those going off on their wild political speculation and deliberate spinning of tales would do well to know that the lies being spouted and names being mentioned are ideal ingredients for inclusion in the poisonous menu that was our daily politics in the long months leading up to the election in October 1980.

Make no joke about it. Although it was a reality that there were People’s National Party (PNP) and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) paramilitary thugs on a rampage, policemen who were similarly allied and willing to create mayhem and, in instances, there were armed politicians and MPs egging on street thugs, much of what brought about added fear in 1980 was speculation over killings thought to be political. The speculation, too, brought on more killings.

I know that the Jamaica Constabulary Force has not cloaked itself in any glistening garment of honour in so far as it relates to solving the many murders in Jamaica, so what that tends to do is free up the fevered and oftentimes sick thoughts of the highly political on social media to be detective, arresting officer, judge, jury and the execution squad at dawn.

Of course, there will be those of us who will be armed with better knowledge than others, but it falls to those not to use whatever it is they think they know as effective police work.

Unless one was an eyewitness, one’s mouth should remain fully zipped up.

SOCIETY HAS BECOME AN ANGRIER PLACE

This time around, with the sort of pressure that will weigh down the commissioner of police, I cannot see the murderer or murderers running free much longer than another few days.

In the fear-filled long days from 1976 to 1980, in every town square, at every corner shop and bar and on every bus, there was the loud speculation and the spreading of fear.

“PNP gunman dem dung deh so. JLP gunman deh up deh so.”

Many times it was true, but when it was not, the fear fed into the continuation of additional bloodshed.

Ministers of government and members of parliament are big fish in the little pond called Jamaica. They usually command respect and fear just by their very presence. Plus, they usually have a paid security detail that you and I cannot afford. One gets the sense that the affable Dr Bloomfield was not too much into walking around with armed guards.

In the last year or so, our society has become an angrier place. Social media is the perfect amplifier for that.

Last Tuesday, I walked inside a bar on the edge of a depressed community. A heavily tattooed young woman I know was seated on a stool crying. On me enquiring, she told me that a young man had openly accused her of performing oral sex on another man.

“Missa Mark, yu can buy a ratchet fi mi,” she said.

“Are you crazy!” I answered as she continued to cry, using a part of her blouse to dry her eyes.

Me telling her to cool off simply drove her away and out of the bar. Maybe she would get her ratchet and another stretch at Fort Augusta.

I cannot identify directly what it is that has accelerated the societal anger in the last year or so, but it exists and doesn’t need the additional spinning of dangerous tales at this time.

- Mark Wignall is a political- and public-affairs analyst. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and mawigsr@gmail.com.