Bunting brands state of emergency a publicity stunt by Gov't
People’s National Party presidential hopeful, Peter Bunting has dismissed the state of emergency in western Jamaica as a mere “PR stunt” by the Andrew Holness-led administration with no positive effect on crime.
Addressing a Llandewey Division conference in Easington, St Thomas on Sunday, Bunting said that in the six weeks since the reintroduction of the SOE, murders have increased by 11 per cent, and the situation shows no sign of improving.
The State of Emergency imposed in the western parishes of St James, Hanover and Westmoreland had expired on April 30, but was renewed through July 29, after a close vote in the Parliament, with 44 members voting in favour and 18 absent.
Bunting, who voted against the continuation, said the Government was trampling on the rights of Jamaicans through the SOE without achieving the stated objective of curbing violent crime.
Turning his attention to the allegations of corruption and misuse of funds in the education sector, Bunting said that the Ministry of Education had essentially become a “slush fund” for some members of the JLP Government in support of nepotism, cronyism and corruption, calling it “a new low” for the country.
While declaring that he was “not there to campaign” Bunting said his aim in offering himself for the leadership of the PNP was to energize the base and inject a sense of purpose into the movement, and be a catalyst for growth. He added that he had felt more “energy” among party supporters in the week since announcing his intention to contest the leadership than he had felt at any time over the last three years.
Making reference to the Special Committee, chaired by General Secretary Julian Robinson, and convened after the PNP’s 2016 General Election loss, Bunting said he was more prepared to say the party “can win” the next General Election, as one of the core findings of the Committee was that the party had come off as arrogant.
His intention, he said was to make the PNP first a more effective opposition and then an attractive Government-in-waiting for the people of Jamaica.