No dons in my constituency - Holness
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness says there are no dons in his West Central St Andrew constituency, which comprises tough areas such as Olympic Gardens, Cling-Cling, Waltham Park, Molynes, and Seivright Gardens.
Holness, speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said crime was coming too close to home. He spoke about being at a nine night for a murdered victim in his constituency when he heard of another being murdered.
"I attended his nine night last night, and while at his nine night, I heard several shorts ringing out. That was another murder, this time of a community organiser and activist - someone I know personally," he said.
"Was it a don?" questioned South East St Elizabeth Member of Parliament, Richard Parchment.
Without missing a beat, Holness responded: "We have no such characters in my constituency."
Some members of the Government laughed and dismissed the comment as being false, but Holness was unmoved.
"I can say that without fear of contradiction," he insisted.
"I have never been associated with or encouraged donship in my constituency."
Contacted yesterday, Richard Stewart, senior superintendent of police for the St Andrew South Police Division, which covers the communities represented by Holness, said he would "neither confirm nor deny the statement" made by the member of Parliament.
He said, too, that the way in which a don is defined may be one reason for certain claims being made.
"There are definitely violence producers in there," Stewart said, while adding that "that is the jargon we use".
Holness, in blasting Peter Bunting, the national security minister, for his management of the crime portfolio, said that his personal experiences caused him to make the now infamous statement concerning the correlation between crime levels and the current Government.
"If you keep the PNP in power, the truth is that you could lose your life. The truth is that the next murder victim could be you," Holness said at a political meeting in Hanover last week.
Bunting used a ministerial statement in Parliament to condemn Holness, saying it was "unbecoming for someone who aspires to the highest political office".
"To further suggest that citizens would be risking their lives in voting against the Jamaica Labour Party is taking the politicisation of crime to a new low," Bunting said.
More than 1,045 persons have been murdered in Jamaica since the start of the year, and Bunting said this year's murder total could be more than 1,200.
One thousand and five persons were murdered in Jamaica last year, the lowest murder figure in 11 years.