Wed | Aug 16, 2017

More heat on Bellamy - First-time councillor's tyres slashed by thugs at JLP constituency meeting

Published:Sunday | April 2, 2017 | 4:47 AMCorey Robinson

The leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) seems set to intervene in an increasingly ugly dispute involving one of its councillors and a group of its supporters in Eastern St Andrew.

“It will need a major political intervention because this is not looking good. That intervention will take place shortly,” a senior member of the JLP told The Sunday Gleaner last week, as the dispute ratcheted with reports that councillor for the Mona division, Andrew Bellamy, had his tyres slashed by persons believed to be aligned to a strongman from the party’s enclave in the division known as ‘Backbush’.

According to the reports, Bellamy was at a political meeting called by Member of Parliament for the constituency Fayval Williams last Tuesday when he discovered that his tyres were slashed.

Last week, crime officer for the Kingston Eastern Police Division, Deputy Superintendent Christopher Brown, said that the cops have heard that the tyres were slashed but no official report had been made to them.

NO OFFICIAL STATEMENTS

Brown noted that without written statements, the police are challenged in their efforts to arrest and charge persons whose names have been whispered in connection with this and other crimes.

“You don’t want to be making the mistake of labelling someone as a criminal, as a gangster, as a violence producer, without the evidence to support the claim. It is absolutely important to get it right the first time,” said Brown.

“Yes, it is true that there may be persons who may feel that some things are happening, but do we have persons who can establish or substantiate that something is happening?”

According to Brown, in the absence of official statements, the police can only keep a watchful eye on the area, bolster patrols and meet with residents regularly.

Two weeks ago, The Sunday Gleaner first reported that Bellamy, a party promoterturned-first-time councillor, was facing pressure from elements in Backbush since his election last November.

Since that report was published, persons close to the JLP’s organisation in the community have claimed that a Labourite strongman in the area and his cronies are the ones pushing the opposition to Bellamy.

The sources say the strongman, whose name is being withheld, has been making demands of the new councillor and organised the defacing of his campaign posters in the community.

“Dem want it look like Bellamy not doing anything. You have a particular individual and him friend them who have to know and control anything that is happening in the community. Any projects that must be done have to go through him,” said one source.

“But Bellamy is not working with that. So dem say he is not working with ‘The Order’. They are trying to get him out,” added the source.

“Some people are convinced that is Backbush that made Fayval win the constituency in 2015, and because of that, dem believe the politicians must take orders from them,” said the source, who added that most persons in the community are afraid to speak out against the thugs.

Backbush is a JLP stronghold in the vicinity of 119 Mountain ViewAvenue. The underdeveloped community is lined with zinc fences and residents constantly complain of the need for improved infrastructure.

Since news of the dispute was made public, efforts to get a comment from Bellamy have been unsuccessful. But Williams, last month, told our news team that she was aware of the discontent among Labourites in the community.

“I know of the situation. There are a couple of disgruntled members of the community. But Bellamy only won the division at the end of the year. It is not even six months yet.

“One has to allow him time to get his bearings,” said Williams at the time. Bellamy won the local government election over the People’s National Party candidate Dollis Campbell with 2,891 votes to 2,372 votes.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com