It was a day of mourning for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) following the untimely death of one of its councillors in a vehicular accident along Old Harbour Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine, early Sunday morning.
Dead is Owen Palmer, 52-year-old councillor for the Homestead division in St Catherine, and 50-year-old Gideon 'Jimmy' Thompson of Homestead.
News of Palmer's death spread quickly throughout the division and scores of residents converged on his home, expressing shock. His grief-stricken wife was not able to comment.
Palmer was killed when he lost control of the Honda sport utility vehicle he was driving and crashed near Old Harbour in the parish. Four other occupants sustained injuries and were taken to hospital, where Palmer and Thompson were pronounced dead, according to the police.
Yesterday, the JLP said Palmer's death has left them saddened and that it extended its "sincerest condolences to the Palmer family in their time of mourning and extends its sympathy to the entire St Catherine Municipal Corporation and the people of the Homestead division".
Meanwhile, mayor of Spanish Town, Norman Scott, said Palmer's untimely death has shaken the municipal corporation.
"Although he was a member of the Jamaica Labour Party, he was a councillor which I interface with regularly. Palmer was the minority leader and was well received by those who knew him. I, personally, wish his family the strength and resilience needed at this time," said Scott, who represents the People's National Party.
A statement from the board and management of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) said it was deeply saddened by Palmer's death.
Palmer was appointed to SERHA's board in April 2016 and served as a member of Spanish Town Hospital's Management Committee.
Education Minister Ruel Reid and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange also expressed regret at the news of Palmer's death. The councillor was a former teacher of the St Catherine High School, where he taught technical drawing and related subjects for many years before entering local government politics.