Deputy General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Dr Andrew Wheatley says that councillor/caretaker Lennox Hines, who was shot dead by gunmen last Thursday evening, would’ve been a sure win for the Southboro Division in Portmore, St Catherine.
Wheatley, gutted, said Hines’ murder is even more painful considering the strides he has made over the years for the JLP in the division.
“We were expecting victory with the candidacy of Lennox Hines. We expected to win it, and we expect to win it nevertheless… whoever the next candidate will be for the Jamaica Labour Party. The legacy of Lennox will not be allowed to just die like that. The criminal elements will not succeed,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday.
“For whatever reason that they have killed him, the full length of the law will bear down on those perpetrators wherever they are, whichever corner they might want to hide in. We leave it up to the security forces to do their job because we have all the confidence in them,” Wheatley continued.
It was reported that Hines was waiting in traffic under a bridge along Marcus Garvey Drive in St Andrew when two men drove up on a motorbike and shot him. A woman who was seated beside Hines was also shot, but her injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Head of the St Andrew South Police Divison Superintendent Kirk Ricketts later revealed that, though early, it is suspected that Hines was “deliberately targeted” and his murder could be characterised as “something of a contract hit”.
Wheatley added that Hines had been working in the constituency and that particular division for over 10 years.
“The JLP is mourning. The mourning goes beyond the JLP. Lennox contested the last local government election and barely lost that seat and has put in quite a bit of work as it relates to building out that seat and the result of his work came to bear when during the last General Election of 2020, where the margin for the JLP, in fact, increased to the extent where we actually won the division for the first time. It was not only the work of the Member of Parliament, but the chairman of that division, Lennox Hines, who did quite a bit of work for the division. His approach to representational politics was quite different. He was all-embracing.”
As deputy general secretary, Wheatley told the Sunday Observer, he has seen first-hand the fruits of Hines’ efforts in the division.
“Whenever we go and audit that division, you see the level of organisation that one would want to see, not only in that division, but throughout the country as a political organisation,” he said.
“Lennox and I entered representational politics at the same time. We both contested divisions in 2003 in a local government election. He went for the Edgewater Division and I went for the Naggo Head Division. He lost in that first attempt, but he was always committed to the people and to service. A lesser man would’ve given up on his first attempt.”
He said that, outside of the political arena, they were very close friends.
“He was a good man. He was a jovial and committed man. He always looked out for poor people, to be very honest. It’s a man who was always about equality and rights and getting things done the right way. He was very passionate about helping the less fortunate. That was Lennox – a committed family man and he was to get married in July,” Wheatley shared.
Further, Wheatley said he spoke to Hines’ fiancé on Friday.
“I think their baby is just over a year old. She said to me that the child will not get an opportunity to even meet his father. And the daughter that was in the car when he got shot up is around 11, approaching 12 years old. That child had to see her father die,” Wheatley said.