'John Crow politics' - Bunting lashes JLP, accuses Opposition of seeking mileage from crime
National Security Minister Peter Bunting went on the warpath yesterday, but his venom was not unleashed on criminal elements wreaking havoc in society.
Fresh from his overseas visit and back on the job, Bunting served notice that he would be speaking comprehensively on plans to wrestle with crime during tomorrow's sitting of the House of Representatives.
Conceding that the Government would be responding to the 19 per cent increase in murders, Bunting echoed last week's pronouncements of Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams.
But for last night, Bunting's verbal fusillade was aimed at the parliamentary opposition; its leader Andrew Holness; and its spokesman on national security, Derrick Smith, whom he described as rejected, discarded, and recycled.
"I have tried to keep national security outside the partisan political fray, however, that approach can only work when you have an enlightened Opposition," said Bunting as he addressed the Eastern St Andrew conference at the University of the West Indies in St Andrew. "One hand can't clap. It is now clear that they are making the issue of crime a central plank of their political platform."
As he unleashed volley after volley, Bunting charged: "Some in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leadership have been behaving like a set of John Crows, like vultures, gleefully reacting to every loss of life as an opportunity to gain political mileage."
Bunting told supporters that the JLP had left him no choice but to respond to its underhanded tactics.
"Well, I have a message for them," he said. "I'm back, and I'm going to respond comprehensively and devastatingly."
In launching another round of verbal missiles, Bunting declared: "This man, him never trouble no one, but if you trouble this man, it will bring a bam-bam," added Bunting to the obvious glee of cheering PNP loyalists.
Describing the strategy of the Opposition as that of a political dunce, the national security minister's most scathing tirade was aimed at Smith.
He charged that the JLP had brought Jamaica to the brink of infamy by turning the system upside down during the extradition saga of 2010.
Bunting charged that Smith was "jumping up every day", excited and seeking to create panic.
"Like the cowards that they are, they wait until my back is turned, until I'm out of the country, to launch their most recent attacks," he said.
"That man is Derrick Smith, the perennial opposition spokesman on national security, I believe the longest-serving opposition spokesman on national security in the history of Jamaica," declared Bunting. "The way he speaks, you would think that if only he became minister of national security Jamaica's crime problem would be solved."
Noting that Smith was national security minister for an eight-month period when there was an average of nearly seven murders per day, Bunting said: "This is the same man now jumping up and down over three murders per day, less than half of what occurred when he was in office."
Bunting charged that in Smith's final month in office alone, there were more than 200 murders.
He charged that Smith did not table a single piece of legislation or initiate a single new policy during his tenure.
"Derrick Smith's brief stint as security minister can only be described as an unmitigated disaster," said Bunting.