In honour of Dr Bloomfield...

Monday, February 11, 2019

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Tribute by Daryl Vaz, MP for Portland Western, to the late Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, MP for Portland Eastern, in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

NONE of us could believe the reports that greeted us over the past weekend of the brutal slaying of our late colleague, Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, Member of Parliament for East Portland.

Dr Bloomfield and I were neighbouring MPs but most interestingly, he was also my MP as my Portland residence is in the constituency of East Portland.

Our political association dates back to 2011 when he was first elected as Member of Parliament. As administrations changed, we were both afforded the privilege of sitting on the Government side as well as knowing the “wilderness” of being in Opposition.

In those seven years of parliamentary and political hustings, we maintained a cordial relationship based on mutual respect. There was never a wry word between us.

There are therefore no stories of political squabbles to tell, as we both understood that our primary concern is the well-being of the people and parish of Portland, and so we worked together, where and when necessary.

Our relationship as rival MPs could best be described as unique, given today's unfortunate tribal nature of our politics. It would be hard-pressed in today's politics to find a politician who could or would call on their political opponent to treat him, his immediate family members and friends, as a medical doctor, from time to time. This was the case with Dr Bloomfield and myself. He always responded to my calls by coming to my house in Portland rather than us having to visit at his office. That was the measure of the man.

Can you imagine Prime Minister Andrew Holness calling on Dr Peter Phillips, or vice versa, to do the same, if they were medical doctors?

My last working MP interaction with Doc was on December 18 last year when I invited him to tour the infrastructure of the parish with me. That he did, and we exchanged ideas of how we could improve that aspect of the parish's development. It was once again clear that although we were from opposing sides, our vision and love for the people and parish of Portland were paramount.

Apart from Parliament, we also attended meetings as members of the Titchfield Trust.

Each of us here has had our own political challenges in one form or the other. This two-term MP has had to defend his stewardship of East Portland publicly a few times. It did not mean that he was not serving the people of East Portland well. It did not mean that he was not loved or respected there. What we could, however, admire about him is that he defended himself with self-assured confidence and quiet dignity.

Everyone in this noble House will agree that Dr Bloomfield was a humble gentleman among us. You would not see nor hear Dr Bloomfield disrespectfully gesticulating, shouting or participating in any heated discussions in the House, and when provoked, he would always respond with a smile.

Dr Bloomfield's seat in this House is empty. We may even make the occasional glance, wondering if the fate which has befallen our colleague is true. His service to the people of our country as a political representative and a medical practitioner has come to an abrupt end. We have been robbed of the friendship and stewardship of our colleague.

One of the last acts in this House by Dr Bloomfield was a Private Member's Motion which he moved recently — a resolution that the Port Antonio Square be renamed Nanny Square after our sole national heroine, and that a statue of her be erected in that square. I will read the resolution.

“WHEREAS Nanny of the Maroons is our sole national heroine, which is a singular status of the highest order:

AND WHEREAS Nanny has captivated national and international attention:

AND WHEREAS Nanny is an integral part of our cultural heritage and is accorded iconic status in her Portland home:

AND WHEREAS there is great need that her status as a heroine be integrated in the daily lives of our citizens and visitors:

BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House recommend that the Port Antonio Square be renamed NANNY SQUARE, that a statue be erected in that square in her honour and that any necessary attendant infrastructural and other modifications to said square be undertaken and completed, to reflect our high regard and respect for her status.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the passage between Breastworks in Port Antonio and Nanny Falls be named the NANNY TRAIL with all attendant issues arising from this change completed in a manner befitting her status as our sole national heroine.”

I would like to propose that in honour of our late Member Bloomfield that the House agrees to debate the resolution in short order.

On behalf of my immediate family, including my wife Ann-Marie, who also developed a close relationship with Dr Bloomfield in a short time; my entire West Portland constituency; and by extension the parish of Portland, we would like to extend condolence to his family, the people of East Portland, his constituency executive, management team, councillors, delegates and supporters along with members of his political party and to assure them that Dr Bloomfield's dedication, work and passion for Portland will always be appreciated and remembered.

I implore both party leaders to insist and instruct their followers to resist the attempts of using Dr Bloomfield's death to score cheap political points and further, to make a call for the media houses, along with users of social media, to act in a responsible and professional manner while we allow the police to speedily investigate this unfortunate case of murder.

These actions will allow for our colleague to be mourned with the dignity and respect which he showed to all whom he encountered during his tenure as Member of Parliament.

May God grant his soul eternal peace and rest. The people of Portland will miss you, Doc.

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