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PNP mourns killing of prominent activist

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, May 27, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The killing of prominent People's National Party (PNP) activist Kenley 'Bebe' Stephens has left the party's organisation in St James in shock.

Stephens was killed at his gate Sunday evening, hours after attending a meeting of the party's Regional Executive Council in Montego Bay in the parish. He was the vice-chairman of the West Central St James constituency.

According to a release from the Corporate Communication Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, at about 8:35 Sunday evening, Stephens—  accompanied by two other men — was about to enter his car at his gate on the upscale Winchester Terrace, Coral Gardens, when he was approached by a man who shot him repeatedly.

He was taken to hospital where he died while undergoing treatment. The other two men were not harmed. The shooter, meanwhile, escaped from the area on foot.

Detectives from the St James police division are investigating the incident.

Yesterday, party officials mourned the killing with chairman of the PNP's Region Six, Dr DK Duncan, remarking that Stephens made a meaningful contribution to the party.

"Like most persons, we are saddened by his passing. He has made significant contribution to the PNP, through the youth organisation and the West Central St James constituency," Dr Duncan reflected.

Meanwhile, West Central Member of Parliament Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who expressed unease about the violent manner in which the nation's youths are dying, argued that Stephens was not only a party man, but a zealous community worker.

"We are very shocked and hurt at his sudden and violent death. We are concerned about the horrific way in which our young men are dying, not only in St James, but in the nation," Folkes-Abrahams told the sJamaica Observer.

"He was at the Regional Executive Council in Montego Bay on Sunday and the Labour Day project (on Friday) where he was there joking around and riding a horse. He has always been enthusiastic about community activities. He will be sadly missed," Folkes-Abrahams lamented

Meanwhile, in a release from the PNP secretariat -- which extended condolences to Stephens' relatives and friends -- the need for a sustained fight on crime was articulated.

"This latest killing confirms that while strides are being made in the fight against violent crimes and all criminality, we still have a long way in the journey to victory against criminals," the release read.

Members of Stephens' native Granville community were also shocked by his tragic passing.

"It is a very sombre mood in Granville, everybody is mourning. Bebe was a very popular man in Granville and the entire St James," Michael Troupe, the PNP councillor for the Granville Division, told the Observer.

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