Mon | Jul 15, 2019

Bloomfield’s ‘life of service’ celebrated - PNP, JLP join in reflections as murdered politician laid to rest

Published:Sunday | February 24, 2019 | 12:16 AMCorey Robinson/Staff Reporter
Tracey Phipps sings during a floral tribute to Dr Lynvale Bloomfield during a thanksgiving service for his life at the Church of the Open Bible in Folly, Portland, yesterday.
Damion Crawford makes his way inside the church during the thanksgiving service for the life of Dr Lynvale Bloomfield at the Church of the Open Bible in Portland yesterday.
Damion Crawford (left), People's National Party (PNP) vice president, shares a joke with PNP President Dr Peter Phillips(second left), former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (second right) and Delroy Chuck (right), minister of justice representing Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during a thanksgiving service for the life of Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, held at the Open Bible Church in Folly, Portland, yesterday.
Daryl Vaz (left) and his wife, Ann-Marie Vaz (centre) share a joke with Dr Wykeham McNeill (right), during the thanksgiving service for the life of Dr Lynvale Bloomfield at the Church of the Open Bible in Folly, Portland, yesterday.
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Raindrops poured down on the zinc roof of the Open Bible Church in Port Antonio yesterday, as if offering empathy to the hundreds grieving the passing of Dr Lynvale George Bloomfield, member of parliament (MP) for East Portland.

Bloomfield was laid to rest yesterday following a packed funeral, where he was hailed as a caring man of God and leader who went beyond the call of duty as a politician and servant of his people.

The tributes honoured Bloomfield’s invaluable service as an MP, a doctor and as a beloved family member.

“He gave exemplary service to the party, to the Parliament of Jamaica, to his parish, his constituency and to his country, Jamaica, land we love,” said Dr Peter Phillips, leader of the People’s National Party, of the Trelawny-born Cornwall College old boy and University of the University West Indies graduate.

“He was a quiet man. In the Parliament I never heard him raise his voice in anger to another person. He was a diligent and consistent member of parliament. I don’t think there is anybody in the Parliament who has a better attendance record than him,” continued Phillips, recalling times when Bloomfield turned up on crutches at events after sustaining a broken leg.

Total commitment

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, representing Prime Minister Andrew Holness, described Bloomfield as calm, unassuming, and non-confrontational.

“He was a man of total commitment,” Chuck said, before MP Natalie Neita offered comfort with a rendition of A Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

“He lived a life of service and tried to make everyone feel special. He believed in dignity for everyone,” said Bloomfield’s brother, Arnold Bloomfield, describing fond times with his brother, a lover of Spanish and who would tease Arnold about his efficiency in the language.

“He believed that healing the body is less important than healing the soul,” said Arnold.

Shane Alexis, speaking on behalf of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), gave tribute to Bloomfield’s service as a doctor, and the “ethical code” that would drive a doctor to take up representational politics.

Alexis, who himself sought but failed to take a seat in the House of Representatives for the PNP, said Bloomfield was a professional, and was blind to political affiliation when it came on to his patients. He promised support to Bloomfield’s patients on behalf of the MAJ.

Members of the Cornwall College Old Boys’ Association described Bloomfield as an exemplary student “that we love and miss”.

“But God knows best,” said one member, noting that they will also have to help with the responsibilities Bloomfield left behind in his constituency.

Yesterday, among former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other dignitaries from both political parties, were hundreds clad in orange and PNP paraphernalia. Inside, they packed together, offering nods of agreement to the tributes, while outside they did the same while sheltering from the sporadic downpour under a tent.

Cursed the killers

Others, intoxicated and smoking, openly cursed the killers, while telling stories of dozens of persons, including a 94-year-old woman in the constituency, whom he treated and gave medication to, free of cost.

At intervals, yesterday’s ceremony was interrupted upon the arrivals of dignitaries. None, however, was welcomed more heartily than Damion Crawford, the touted PNP successor for the constituency.

Crawford was hugged, kissed and shaken by the mourners who erupted in jubilation upon his approach.

Supporters, like the Reverend Dayne Grant in his sermon, called for swift, strong justice to be brought against Bloomfield’s killers.

“Mercy does not allow the guilty to go free; that is not what mercy is... . Cain did not walk free. Justice was swift towards him. God held him accountable,” said Grant to chants from the congregation.

Bloomfield’s body was reportedly found in his bedroom with more that 20 stab wounds at his Paisley Gardens home in Portland on February 2. His helper and gardener, who stumbled upon the body, said they observed traces of blood leading from a bathroom to the bedroom.

A top-level investigation into the case continues.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com