tour tomorrow December
Dr. Percival Broderick, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) candidate for Eastern St. Andrew, has no apologies for disregarding police advice on Nomination Day to tour a volatile section of August Town. The JLP chairman said he would conduct himself in the same manner again.
Meantime, the police are to convene a meeting on Wednesday with the three candidates to discuss last Tuesday's events and to plot the way forward to ensure calm in August Town. On Nomination Day, politically-inspired violence resulted in the injury of 12 persons in the August Town community.
The furore began during a tour of the community by People's National Party's (PNP) candidate, Colin Campbell, and supporters. Mr. Campbell's group came under gunfire from a rival political territory above August Town. Four young women were shot. The four were said to be bystanders who were hailing the PNP motorcade as it passed through the community.
Following the incident, Dr. Broderick handed in his nomination papers and was advised by the police of escalating tension in August Town. The police to discourage him from touring the community. The police reported to him that an appropriate level of security could not be guaranteed if his motorcade were to tour the community.
To this Dr. Broderick replied: "No section of Eastern St. Andrew will be off-limits to the Jamaica Labour Party at no time."
Less than an hour later, gunfire was heard in the area, some of it reportedly coming from a bus within the JLP convoy. Two men were observed running out of a house with gunshot wounds. The situation forced the JLP motorcade to retreat.
Yesterday, a church service organised by the police was held in August Town at The Heaven of Hope Open Bible Church. There, Police Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Vivian Panton, challenged the three political contenders for Eastern St. Andrew to use their influence to ensure that peace is maintained during political campaigning.
The Gleaner, after the service, asked Dr. Broderick to comment on the morning's event. He said: "(It was) excellent. I think the intentions (of the service) were good. I think it is a good start. I think that we can be able now to move from this point to another point. I think that we can be able to assist and speak to our supporters to moderate themselves. I think it is an excellent start of something that we should try our best to maintain."
Gleaner: "Dr. Broderick, you have come under some amount of criticism for Tuesday's events. Is there anything you would do differently?"
Dr. Broderick: "No way."
Gleaner: "You would do again what you did?"
Dr. Broderick: "Tomorrow!"
Dr. Broderick, Wentworth Charles, the National Democratic Movement's (NDM) candidate, and Colin Campbell all read scripture lessons during the service. A special prayer was said for them,. as they held each other's hand in solidarity for peace.
Mr. Charles described Dr. Broderick's conduct last Tuesday as "very misguided and most unfortunate for a political person with seniority. He ought to have recognised the temperature and ought to have said to his followers this is not the occasion to march".
In a previous meeting among the three candidates and the police, it was agreed no motorcades would take place without the permission of the Commissioner of Police. No such permission was given, Mr. Charles said.
When told that Dr. Broderick would act in the same manner as he did last Tuesday, Mr. Charles said: "I am extremely surprised. Is Dr. Broderick saying that this church service didn't mean anything to him? "It is most irresponsible of him...if he is going to take that approach to it...I am going to have to ask the security forces to deal with the matter."
Mr. Campbell, commenting on Broderick's behaviour on Nomination Day said: "I think Dr. Broderick ... will find out that he made an error. As a person who is senior in leadership in a political party, he should not have ignored the advice of the police...He isn't really used to the politics of the Corporate Area, which really requires a different type of leadership."
"Once you are here you have to be strong," Mr. Campbell said. "You have to be able to deal with your supporters."