No room for guns, bullets in South East St Mary race, says Chang - JLP adamant shooting of two men not politically motivated
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) General Secretary Dr Horace Chang is decrying a recent gun attack on two persons in Top Bay, Annotto Bay, a community in South East St Mary.
In a statement yesterday, Chang said that based on information from the police, there was no evidence that the incident was politically motivated, and it could not be labelled a political shooting.
"We have been reliably informed that the persons injured last night were not involved in politics and have no connection to the current campaign taking place," Chang said in an apparent response to claims from People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Julian Robinson.
Campaign activities have intensified in the constituency in recent weeks as both the JLP's Dr Norman Dunn and the People's National Party's Dr Shane Alexis seek to win the October 30 by-election for the seat left vacant after the sitting MP, Dr Winston Green, died suddenly in August.
RISING POLITICAL TENSION
Yesterday, Robinson maintained that the injured men were party supporters.
"I stand by what I said, which is that the two people who were shot are PNP supporters and have been active and involved in the campaign," he said.
Earlier, Robinson also said that he had spoken to Chang and Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake about the incident.
He has reportedly also asked for the intervention of Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown as a result of rising political tensions.
In his statement, Chang extended well wishes to the injured and urged the police to investigate and bring to justice anyone who breaks the law, while further stressing that no one should be allowed to use the current by-election as cover for criminality.
"The police should be aggressive in their investigation. Guns and bullets have no political colour. There should be no room for them in St Mary. The JLP does not support any form of intimidation or criminality, and we are calling on the police and the Ombudsman to ensure the election in South East St Mary is free and fair," Chang said.
Up to yesterday, the police said that they had not yet established a motive for the shooting.
According to the Annotto Bay police, at about 7 p.m. on Saturday, a man was walking along the train line when he was attacked by a man who opened gunfire, hitting him.
Another man, who was nearby, was held up by two men who came from the direction of the first incident. A struggle ensued during which he managed to hit one of the attackers with a chair but was shot by the other.