Family renews plea for justice as murdered Southboro councillor laid to rest
In an impassioned plea for justice, the family of late Southboro councillor, Ainsley Parkins, has blasted both political parties in Jamaica, as well as the police, for their perceived failure to bring his killers to justice.
Parkins tragically lost his life on July 20 when he was shot by a gunman while overseeing debushing work in the division he represented for the People’s National Party (PNP).
While delivering a collective remembrance at the thanksgiving service for the late councillor, family members expressed their grief and frustration, calling for law enforcement and the government to address their quest for justice.
“We are hurting, we are grieving. Look at his mom over there. It’s impossible not to notice her pain. We are seeking justice, not just another number. We are mad as hell because he was a good man who loved his people,” one of Parkins’ aunts passionately declared during the collective remembrance.
Another family member, Parkins uncle, Paul Garriques, echoed similar sentiments, placing the blame squarely on what he referred to as a flawed system, which he claimed encompassed law enforcement and the political class.
The distraught uncle, in engaging Parkins’ weeping mother, quoted Bob Marley, stating, “Woman, hold your head and cry because your son has been shot down in the streets and die.”
He criticised both political parties, particularly the PNP.
Directing his plea to the politicians, Garriques demanded, “Politicians of Jamaica, we want to see the man who killed Ainsley Parkins brought to justice. Don’t sit idly by, rise up and ensure that the socialist killer face justice,” he said.
PNP caretaker for St Catherine East Central Raymond Pryce, recognising the family’s grief, quickly tried to mitigate the impact by assuring them that Parkins was aligned to the party in more ways than one and enjoyed the camaraderie of all the members of the party.
“Your loved one is like the city of Jerusalem, and it is okay for you to express your frustrations,” Pryce assured the family, quoting from the Book of Lamentations in the Bible to make the point.
Party President Mark Golding echoed the same sentiments while renewing his call for at-risk politicians to be given state protection.
“To the grieving family, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sights. I didn’t know Tyson [Parkins’ nickname’] as well as some of you, but what I know [is that] he was a unique individual who served his country well.
He described him as a courageous servant who was there to do the people’s work.
The late Ainsley Parkins was laid to rest at the family plot in Wakefield, Linstead in St Catherine.
At the time of his death, he was the second politician from the division to be murdered in just over a year, following the May 2022 murder of the Jamaica Labour Party’s Lennox Hines.
Hines, the councillor-caretaker for the division, was shot dead on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.