PNP calls for probe into alleged threats made to rafters in Portland Eastern

Friday, March 22, 2019

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PORTLAND, Jamaica —The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) is calling on the Commissioner of Police and the Office of the Political Ombudsman to investigate claims of intimidation and threats made against rafters and others in the Berrydale community of East Portland by political activists yesterday.

The party, in a statement this afternoon, said it received reports that during a visit to the area by members of the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for a campaign event, rafters were reportedly threatened that there would be retaliation if they did not support JLP candidate, Annmarie Vaz.

Vaz will be going up against the party's standard-bearer Damion Crawford in the April 4 by-election.

The PNP said this reported development is alarming as the party continues to run a clean and disciplined campaign and hoped that the peace and tranquility of Portland would not suffer on account of anyone who would seek to use “intimidatory tactics”, including violence to gain political advantage and votes.

The party further claimed that the charges of intimidation and threats have surfaced in the context of the JLP candidate's refusal to sign the Political Code of Conduct, which denounces acts of violence in the campaign.

The Opposition said it is now urging those who have been threatened and/or intimidated to report these very disturbing developments directly to the police.

“However, with the level of fear that is now engulfing sections of the community, it is essential that the Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, initiate an investigation into these reports swiftly and to provide adequate security coverage for the areas targeted to eliminate the atmosphere of fear which is slowly engulfing sections of the constituency,” it said.

The Opposition noted that the hard-won rights through Universal Adult Suffrage ensure that every Jamaican over the age of 18 years is entitled to a vote without fear and this must be preserved by the State.

“The people of East Portland must be assured of their protection as they make their choice in an atmosphere of freedom, fairness and safety,” the party said.

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