Sun | Mar 24, 2019

Political tensions rise over Bloomfield’s murder

Published:Monday | February 4, 2019 | 12:27 AMRomario Scott and Gareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writers
Dr Lynvale Bloomfield
This van, which initially turned up to remove the body of MP Lynvale Bloomfield, was condemned by Comrades.
This hearse was met with rounds of approval when it turned up later.
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Political tensions are rising following the death of Portland Eastern Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield as allegations swirl over possible motives behind his murder.

Bloomfield, who won the seat in 2011 and 2016 on a People’s National Party (PNP) ticket, was found dead at his Passley Gardens, Portland, home on Saturday with what appeared to be stab wounds.

While the police, the political ombudsman or the leaders of both major political parties have not expressed that Bloomfield’s killing was linked to tribal politics, some party supporters have been pointing fingers.

On Saturday, as constituents gathered at the scene in shock and disbelief, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor for the St Margaret’s Bay division, Stephen Williams, was peppered with a barrage of expletives and threats.

“I can understand that the death of a well-loved person, especially a political representative, whose life was snuffed out by criminal(s), can be heart-rending and a bitter pill to swallow, “commented Williams. “What I cannot understand, however, is the level of hostility directed at me during my presence in showing solidarity for the Comrade. It shouldn’t be that individuals are angrily casting blame and aspersions about the killing being politically motivated, when the political climate in East Portland is extremely peaceful. As a matter of fact, the peace, calm, and friendly political camaraderie is at an all-time high in East Portland.”

Yesterday, Zuleika Jess, the PNP’s caretaker for Central Clarendon, also stirred up a firestorm over a post she made on Facebook.

“I don’t know the reason behind Dr Bloomfield’s killing, but I do know for a fact that there are still persons living in Jamaica who are willing to get rid of their political opponents by any means necessary,” Jess said, adding that she formed the opinion based on a series of events that have occurred in Central Clarendon, where she is seeking to unseat long-time MP Mike Henry.

ATTACKED ON SOCIAL MEDIA

She noted that persons who have “dared to say that the killing of Dr Bloomfield was politically motivated” have been attacked on social media.

In her post, Jess, an attorney, outlined numerous allegations of intimidation by JLP supporters that she said has her mother worried.

“When I decided to enter the political arena, my mother was quite fearful. She still is. She said to me: ‘They will kill you and nothing will come out of it. You are a lawyer, so they will make it look like a disgruntled client did it’,” the attorney further wrote.

“The truth is, political violence is still alive and well in Jamaica, land we love.”

She was supported under her post by followers who said the issue of political intimidation has been discussed at the PNP’s National Executive Council.

However, some JLP supporters were left fuming and blasted Jess for what they described as a “reckless” post.

Bloomfield, who was also a medical doctor, is the second sitting member of parliament to be killed. The other was Roy McGann, who was murdered in St Andrew East Rural in the run-up to the 1980 general election.

 

HEARSE DRAMA

While supporters on both sides of the political divide held their ground at the Scene without any form of physical confrontation on Saturday, it was not without drama as dozens of Comrades threatened to block the roadway with their bodies in protest over the physical appearance of a St Michael’s Funeral Home van, which turned up to remove the body of the MP.

“Our MP deserves to be carried in a much better vehicle instead of that old junk,” protested a group of PNP supporters. “The MP had class and deserves the best treatment. Him not going into that chip-up van. As a matter of fact, him should travel in an helicopter. A hell and powder house yah this evening!”

To the delight of the Comrades, a new-look sport utility vehicle arrived and transported the body to Brown’s Town in St Ann.