Clash in Parliament over Crime Stats

National Security Minister, Peter Bunting, and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, clashed in the House of Representatives this afternoon, over the 23-percent increase the murder rate since the start of the year.

The clash followed a statement made by Minister Bunting in response to remarks made by Mr. Holness on the political platform on Sunday.

The Security Minister began his parliamentary statement by accusing Andrew Holness of unbecoming conduct.

Bunting further accused Holness of disgraceful behavior.

He said the Opposition Leader is guilty of implicating the security forces in his political agenda.

Minister Bunting told the House that Holness has overstated the figures regarding the number of persons who’ve left the Constabulary Force in recent time.

But Holness insisted that he spoke accurately.

He reacted strongly to Minister Bunting’s accusation that his commentary on crime was vulgar.

He accused the Security Minister of being hypocritical in his current posture.

Holness says Minister Bunting has been focusing on figures instead of saving lives.

Mr. Holness told Peter Bunting that he’s out of order.

And the clash between Holness and Bunting forced the Speaker of the House, Michael Peart, to suspend the sitting for fifteen minutes to allow tempers to cool.

Mr. Peart then summoned the leaders of government and opposition business for a private meeting.

Before the suspension, East Central St. Andrew MP, Dr. Peter Phillips defended Minister Bunting, while Opposition MPs, Delroy Chuck and Desmond McKenzie, attacked the Security Minister for making a political statement in parliament.

The leader of Government Business in the House, Phillip Paulwell and Mr. Chuck also sparred over the appropriateness of Minister Bunting’s statement.

Phillip Paulwell and before him Delroy Chuck.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.

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