JAMAICA-Phillips found dead
Tourism consultant murdered two days before mum’s birthday
KINGSTON –– The St Catherine community of Marlie Mount was sent into shock and despair yesterday after the partially burnt body of tourism consultant Horace Phillips was found in his rented house on the outskirts of Old Harbour.
The gruesome discovery brought an end to a desperate search by family and friends who had reported Phillips missing from Sunday.
Residents told the Jamaica Observer that the discovery of the 56-year-old Jamaica Tourist Board consultant’s body was made two days before his mother was scheduled to mark her birthday.
“Have mercy. I don’t know how I am going to tell his mother what took place today,” said Nadine Phillips, the slain man’s niece.
“Dear God, why, why? Look how dem kill Mr Phillips!” screamed one woman, as the body was removed from the house by undertakers.
Both women stood among a large group of residents, and members of the Anglican Church community, who flooded the area and waited for hours for police to finish processing the crime scene.
Police yesterday said they were called to the community about 9 a.m. after the partially burnt body was found.
Andrew Robinson, a political representative from the area who said he knew Phillips, described the murder as one of the worst to take place in the community in recent years.
Suffragan Bishop of Kingston Right Reverend Robert Thompson, who was also at the scene, said the murder had left him in shock.
“I was in my office in Kingston when I heard, and it is certainly a loss for the community,” said Bishop Thompson, who explained that Phillips was an active member of the congregation at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Old Harbour.
The clergyman said he was deeply concerned about the violent way in which people were being killed in the country.
“The level of violence is certainly giving us chills,” he added.
Rural Dean of St Catherine Canon Collin Reid, who also visited the scene, expressed shock at the murder.
“In my 20 years I have never seen anything like this,” he said after viewing the body.
Amidst the grief, police were criticized by residents after news emerged that one of Phillips’ relatives went to his house on Sunday, saw his car and, after not being able to locate him, went to the police station and made a report that he was missing, only to be sent away from the station.
“I went there, reported that he was missing, and told the police that I was asking for some assistance to go back to the house to carry out a search for him. I was told by the police that they could not do that; that was destruction of property,” the relative told the Observer.
When the Observer tried to get a comment from the police about the relative’s allegation, we were told to direct all queries to Corporate Communication Unit (CCU).
When we called the CCU, we were told that the unit did not give out that type of information.
Yesterday, Minister of National Security Peter Bunting condemned Phillips’ murder and said that the criminals who carried out this act must not be allowed to go unpunished.
He urged law-abiding citizens who may have heard or seen anything to tell the police so that the perpetrators could be brought to justice.
Bunting also said that Phillips was a candidate for the People’s National Party in the last local government elections.