Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament for West Rural St Andrew Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn faced a flood of criticism for a post on Instagram honoring the life of St. Catherine pastor James Johnson.
Many social media users slammed the athlete-turned-politician for her blatant use of posturing in her tribute, berating the People’s National Party (PNP) for contesting the constitution of the National Identification System (NIDS) in court.
The post, made mere moments after Johnson’s funeral on Sunday, November 4, began, “We finally said goodbye to you and it still hurts knowing I will never hear your laughter or get my daily and nightly calls. Each moment I think of you i wrestle with the thought of why anyone would want to shoot you 7 times in a Church (sic).”
The mourning words of Cuthbert-Flynn took a sharp turn into political bantering when she added, “I wrestle with why when such evil, vicious acts happen Politicians are not the loudest to denounce such crimes. We have been a part of this vicious cycle because politicians know the criminals in their Communities. The PNP is now fighting parts of NIDS and its Constitutional rights. The PNP did nothing to craft their own NIDS Bill to help with solving crime. With our Informer culture we cannot continue to ask citizens to risk their lives and tell what they know (sic).”
While some readers agreed with Cuthbert’s sentiments, many immediately took issue with the post, bashing it as ‘distasteful, unnecessary and utterly disgusting’.
The post quickly went viral on other social media platforms Twitter and Facebook and a war of words was raged in support and opposition of Cuthbert’s tribute.
“It is so absolutely CLASSLESS to be turning a tribute to a slain young man into political posturing…have you no shame @julietcuthbert?!?” asked one man on Twitter.
Another woman wrote, “LOL…How did a tribute about someone who meant so much to you end up being a rant about the opposition… I am so confused.”
Omar Edwards added his contribution to the debate on Facebook when he said in the popular group ‘Politics Time’, “Funeral Tribute become political…absolute no remorse for the dead!!! NIDS a sell a funeral to…Cuthbert is such a waste in Gordon House!”
Since posting, Cuthbert has reportedly blocked several followers on Instagram that disagreed with her views, ending her tribute by arguing, “Many more lives will be cut down indiscriminately, and go unsolved if we keep pussyfooting around and not implement NIDS.”
James Johnson, an avid supporter of the JLP, who worked passionately alongside Cuthbert, was killed on Thursday, September 20 while teaching a class. He was shot multiple times in the upper body by a lone gunman.