Bunting not amused by Montague's sound bites

January 24, 2017
National Security Minister Robert Montague.
Peter Bunting, opposition spokesman on national security.

Former National Security Minister Peter Bunting says the current minister, Robert Montague, should focus on the critical matters under his portfolio and stop wasting time trying to make sound bites.

Bunting made the comment yesterday, amid calls from some Jamaicans for Montague to be sacked as national security minister.

"Scoring a sound bite ends up being just a distraction because whether he was serious or not, it makes him look like he is not," Bunting said.

Montague's 'obeah man uncle' comment last week caused a firestorm of public condemnation after he suggested he would employ the services of his 'spiritualist' uncle to help tackle criminals. The minister has subsequently said he was making a joke, but Bunting said that it is time for him to get serious about his job.

"I hope that he made that statement from a comedic value. He was trying to get a forward or a laugh from the audience. I really sincerely hope that he was not serious," said Bunting.




As of January 21, murders were running 51 per cent higher than it was at the corresponding period last year. More than 80 persons have been murdered since the start of the year, leading some persons to call for Montague's resignation.

Bunting, who as minister asked for divine intervention to help in the fight against crime, said that it is time for Montague to stop focusing on peripheral issues.

He told THE STAR that a big part of being minister means that one has to "stay focus and always be spending time and using influence where it will have the highest impact."

Bunting said that among the things Montague should be seeking to do is building a foundation of trust between the population and the citizens and focus on improving the professionalism of the police force.

He described as knee-jerk, Montague's pronouncements about the resumption of hanging, insisting "that is not going to happen".

"The public looks for a minister of national security to be a fairly sober person. Not saying you have to be boring and you can't make a joke or something like that, but they expect that when you speak, it comes from a very considered position," Bunting said.

"I don't think the current minister impresses the public with the likelihood of him speaking from informed position. It seems much more off the cuff and what will get a laugh or a forward from the particular audience."

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