KINGSTON, Jamaica – Nomination Day was marred by violence yesterday, with an opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) motorcade shot at, leaving one man dead and others injured, and clashes between supporters of the JLP and ruling People’s National Party (PNP) elsewhere.
The death of an unnamed man in Flanker, Montego Bay, in the parish of St. James, came two days after a shooting at a JLP rally – said by police to be a result of warring Sparta and Rebel gangs in the Flanker community. In that Sunday night incident, three people were killed and six others injured and officials from both parties, along with police and other groups in the country pleaded with Jamaicans to leave violence out of the campaign leading up to the February 25 general elections
Gunmen opened fire on the JLP motorcade yesterday evening, police say. More than 40 spent shells were recovered from the scene.
“We had a team in the area and they responded promptly and were actually engaged by the gunmen,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor.
He was also quoted by the Jamaica Gleaner as saying no permission was granted for the motorcade to pass through the area.
“We are aware of the tension in the community and asked specifically that no motorcade should come through Flanker. I am really sad that our instructions were not followed, and I would really like to know who authorized this motorcade,” McGregor said.
In the North Central Clarendon constituency, there was a clash between supporters of the two main political parties after the PNP’s nominee Desmond Brennan and the incumbent Pearnel Charles of the JLP arrived to be nominated at the same time.
The groups threw objects at each other, and police and military personnel had to intervene to restore order, as the candidates urged their backers to be calm and refrain from violence.
However, Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said apart from those incidents, the nomination process went well.
A total of 152 candidates were nominated, with the PNP and JLP fielding candidates in all 63 constituencies, and a few minority parties and independent candidates throwing their hats into the ring.