Bunting provides context to near decade-old 'divine intervention' statementFriday, November 26, 2021
Eight-and-a half years after he made his now infamous 'divine intervention' statement regarding what was needed to aid the security forces in their fight against crime, former National Security Minister Peter Bunting on Thursday sought to provide the context in which he made the comment.
Bunting received both condemnation and commendation for making the statement at the time, one which he has not been made to forget.
While speaking at a function at the Northern Caribbean University [NCU] on April 13, 2013, Bunting said he was convinced that “The best efforts of the security forces by itself will not solve the crime problem in Jamaica, but it is going to take divine intervention, touching the hearts of a wide cross section of the society".
"I am not embarrassed to say that right now, as minister of national security, I am going through a kind of a dark night of the soul," Bunting added while appearing close to tears.
On Thursday, he provided context, shedding light on his “dark night of the soul” moment. He was speaking in the Senate during his contribution to the debate on the motion to extend the States of Emergency [SOEs], until February 10, 2022. The motion fell one vote short of the required two-thirds majority as no Opposition senator supported it. This means the SOEs will come to an end on Saturday after just two weeks.
As he responded to Government Senator Don Wehby who had referenced his statement during his contribution to the debate, Bunting said “Every time we go to church, every time we say a prayer here in this chamber, we're indeed asking for divine intervention so I'm really puzzled as to why divine intervention seems so unusual”.
The Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate admitted that he was “very emotional” at the time he made the statement and he offered an explanation.
“I will use the opportunity to give some context and there were a number of reasons,” he stated.
Continuing, he said “I was emotional because my mother had died a few days previously. I was emotional because I was speaking at a church service at NCU for fallen members of the police and the military”.
Bunting added that “I was emotional, and the particular reference to divine intervention was because we had a heinous murder that week where a father had murdered his wife and two children.
“The context was [that] you couldn't have enough police and, no matter how hard the police had worked in that domestic situation, only divine intervention could have intervened, not anything by the security forces”.
Bunting explained that separately, he was emotional “because I feel very passionate about this topic; I know how important it is".
He said: “I have been at way too many murder scenes. I've attempted to comfort way too many mothers who've lost their children. I've seen them washing the blood out of their homes”.
Wehby brought up the Bunting statement which he said he found to be profound and quite serious at the time as he called for the Church to become more involved in the fight against crime.