Monday 15 October, 2018

McKenzie says West Kingston apology from Government not enough

West Kingston Member of Parliament, Desmond McKenzie

West Kingston Member of Parliament, Desmond McKenzie

In an unusual break with political tradition locally, West Kingston Member of Parliament (MP) and Local Government and Community Development Minister, Desmond McKenzie, has taken the position that the apology which was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on behalf of the country to the people of West Kingston on Wednesday, was not a sufficient overall response to the wounds that still exist in relation to the 2010 security forces’ incursion in the community.

McKenzie took the turn from the official Government position during the same sitting of Parliament that Holness apologised on Wednesday.

McKenzie welcomed the apology as an important step in the right direction, but said the move would “not compensate for the pain, the loss and distress that the people of West Kingston have experienced.”

He told Parliament that going forward, the people of West Kingston have a desire to transform the general public perception of the constituency as part of a process of wider national change involving the ending of garrison politics.

He said the people of West Kingston did not want to be seen in the garrison mould as has long been the case, but as a normal community operating within the cultural norms of the society.

McKenzie’s statement came sometime after the prime minister had offered the apology for the event that involved the loss of 73 lives, including a security force member, in the forceful search for then strongman, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.

McKenzie extended an invitation to two of his neighbouring MPs, Mark Golding of South St Andrew and Dr Angela Brown Burke of South West St Andrew, to help to foster continued efforts to reduce tensions from garrison politics in their constituencies. He cited the pioneering efforts of former MPs, Edward Seaga of West Kingston and Dr Omar Davies of South St Andrew, which he said had laid the stage for less political division across the combined constituencies, which he said needs to be further reduced.