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No evidence shooting at PNP meeting politically motivated - Paulwell

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2016 | 12:54 AM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and PNP Region Three chairman Phillip Paulwell are sorrounded by police personnel as the depart the Kingston Public Hospital - Gladstone Taylor Photo

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Phillip Paulwell, the People's National Party (PNP) chairman for Region Three has said there is no indication that the shooting at a party meeting in Three Miles Tuesday night was politically motivated.

"The police have indicated that their initial investigation indicate that there was some gun firing and it created a stampede but they are not too clear as to the reasons for the gun firing and it is not too clear as to who did the gun firing," Paulwell said, noting that the investigations are continuing.

The PNP heavyweight, who was among scores of persons, including party president Portia Simpson Miller turned up at the Kingston Public Hospital to visit the two people who were shot and the 27 others who were injured in an ensuing stampede.

READ: Several people injured in stampede following gunfire at PNP meeting

Paulwell said Simpson Miller was very disturbed by the incident.

"She is very, very concerned and upset about what has happened," he said.

The shots rang out as Dr Peter Phillips was introducing Simpson Miller to speak at the final campaign meeting.

Paulwell said Simpson Miller was urged to leave the stage but she refused out of concern for the people.

"The Prime Minister was at no time fearful for herself. She feared for the people. She showed tremendous bravery. In fact, when she was being encouraged and cajoled to leave the area, she said no, she is going to stay there to ensure there is calm and she is going to minimise any harm that could come to the people," he said.

"We weren't afraid, we weren't going to allow the meeting to be abandoned because of disruption. We wanted to ensure calm we wanted to ensure the people did not leave with a sense to retaliate in anyway," he added.

He also said that the PNP president was responsible in her statements immediately after the disruption.

READ: After the shooting ... what Portia said

"I think the Prime Minister, based on what was reported to her, and in an attempt to calm the situation there and then, made a strong appeal for calm, for people to stand firm and I think the prime minister was quite responsible for enabling the meeting to continue," Paulwell said.

Paulwell said that the party decided not to end the meeting abruptly because persons may have left the meeting feeling that the Jamaica Labour Party caused the disruption and it could have led to retaliation.

Two weeks ago when there were gunshots at the JLP's meeting in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, the rally was aborted.

Three people were killed and other injured in that attack.