Daughter of murdered councillor says dad did not tolerate corruption
Tennesha Parkins (right) helps to carry the casket with the body of her father, Ainsley Parkins, following his funeral service at Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church, Sunday. Her father, who was the People's National Party councillor for the Southborough Division in Portmore, was murdered on July 20 by gunmen. (Photo: Jason Cross)

TENNESHA Parkins, daughter of murdered People's National Party (PNP) Councillor Ainsley Parkins, described her father at his funeral on Sunday as an honest and tireless worker, who was killed for defending the right.

Parkins was shot and killed by gunmen on July 20 in Southborough, the Portmore, St Catherine division he represented.

The funeral for the late councillor was held at Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Catherine and was attended by scores of people, including relatives, friends, and members of the PNP. Leader of the PNP, Mark Golding was among the mourners who turned out to pay their final respects to Parkins, said to a man who loved to serve his fellow men.

"He was loved and will be missed. My relationship with my dad was complicated. My mom always said we had difficulties getting along because we were too similar. He was dedicated to whatever he felt was important, and worked tirelessly and honestly in the position [to which] he was entrusted. He felt that one should serve the community in which one resides. He did just that," said the young woman.

"He was a no-nonsense, outspoken man who did not tolerate corruption. I would say this led him to the grave. My father was extremely dedicated to his work as he believed he could make a difference — and he did make a difference. However, not everyone was for him and so his life was taken from him on July 20. He died doing what he loved and believed in," Tennesha said during the eulogy.

She said that her father, who was affectionately known as Teddy or Tyson, was born on November 20, 1967 in the parish of St Catherine. She said he was adamant about learning a trade when he was a young man, and decided to venture into woodwork and cabinet making, "which he excelled at".

Parkins, said Tennesha, spent his early years in Bog Walk, St Catherine, adding that from an early age he was very industrious and ambitious.

"My dad tried many different things. He worked as a labourer on a housing project in Independence City. He built furniture and caskets, and even serviced an entire funeral. Ainsley later moved to Newlands in Portmore and formed the Dog Breeders Association in 2008. He was a fierce dog lover.

"He was the president of the Newland Citizens' Association, and that inspired him to want to do more for his fellow citizens, and thus his political career started. He eventually joined the People's National Party and became the caretaker for the Southborough Division. From there he was elected as the councillor of that division. You will be missed so dearly. Rest in peace, daddy."

Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas said Parkins "was a very good councillor and we miss him".

Kenord Grant, councillor for the Bridgeport Division in Portmore, said, "Councillor Parkins was a good colleague. He was an awesome representation for his people. He believed in his craft and as such he named himself the local government practitioner."

One female member of the PNP said she had a lot of respect for Parkins as she was impressed by his fearlessness. "Anything came his way, he wouldn't back from it," she said.

In July the Jamaica Observer reported that Councillor Parkins' penchant for naming and shaming individuals involved in criminal activity in his division was advanced, by people who knew him well, as a possible reason for his brutal murder.

"He was a man who didn't support slackness as a councillor. He has a bus with two loudspeakers on it, and from you start to give trouble him 'loud up' your name on full blast. He did that for many years, and him nuh hold back," a male resident told the Observer near the murder scene in July.

BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter crossj@jamaicaobserver.com

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