Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Is Kartel all Dwayne Vaz can talk about?

Published:Monday | December 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Dwayne Vaz

The Gleaner of Saturday, December 12, 2015 published a front-page news story headlined 'Reject political violence', which, in part, stated that Dorothy Pine-McLarty, chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, has publicly called on every law-abiding Jamaican to reject any attempt to introduce political violence during the period leading up to the next general election, or thereafter.

Citizens must firmly heed her advice. The two main political leaders must consistently, forcefully and vocally tell their supporters to be disciplined and not be involved in any form of recklessness, chaos and intimidation. 

What is needed is a comprehensive debate on major national and governmental issues focusing on economic growth and the policies required for thousands of new jobs across the country, public-sector reform, tax incentives for new business owners, constitutional reform, equipping the public health sector, and abolishing those regional health authorities that are a waste of taxpayers' monies.

Politicians should be busy presenting ideas for widening the social safety net of PATH, and how to further upgrade the educational sector, enlarging the tourism sector, modernising the police force and strengthening the anti-corruption laws for public officials. These are some of the main issues that needs to be meticulously discussed by the JLP and PNP through town hall-type meetings and other fora.

Members of parliament, constituency caretakers, state ministers, Cabinet ministers and party officials and officers must at all times conduct themselves with respect and not use language that can trigger violence between supporters of the JLP and PNP.

Central Westmoreland Member of Parliament Dwayne Vaz's comments at a meeting held in Mount Salem, citing one of Vybz Kartel's violent songs while speaking on the political platform, and saying, among others, "I heard some Labourites a laugh and talk bout PNP office down. According to dem, a whole heap more things lef fi come. But we want tell dem seh, cause we nuh know if a dem do it or what."

Mr Vaz then proceeded to ask the crowd, "A dem dweet?" Thereafter, he began singing, "A baby strength dem have, girl strength alone dem have," which are words from that despicable but vastly popular Vybz Kartel song Wah Dem Feel Like. With the crowd roaring, he proceeded to say, "You know what a gwaan today. Montego Bay, load up the gun."

Immediately afterwards, the sound system being played at the rally completed the song. Vaz's comments were in reference to reports before the PNP rally that the office of PNP councillor for the Granville division, Michael Troupe, had been firebombed.

Vaz's conduct was appalling, scandalous and shocking, and warrants the intervention of the so-called Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown. His comments could have been interpreted to be inciting violence against the JLP.

No politician should be singing on a political platform words from vile dancehall songs that contain violence and despicable words such as Kartel's. Vaz should have been telling the persons in attendance of the Government's accomplishments, if any, and uniting them around the Government's overall goals for the next term in office if the PNP were to win the next general election.

Instead, he exhibited deplorable, disgraceful and atrocious behaviour that reflects rather dismally and negatively on the prime minister and the party. That type of obnoxious political conduct must be outrightly condemned and shunned by all upright, well-thinking politicians and have no place in today's evolving politics.

I agree with the general secretary of the JLP, Dr Horace Chang, reporting Vaz's outrageous conduct at that PNP mass rally. Where are the party's two manifestos? When will the national debates be held?

A recent Gleaner editorial stated that both Andrew Holness and Peter Phillips should publicly declare their assets for all to see and view. I am of the fervent opinion that all Cabinet ministers should do so as well before the next general election.

Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and robertdalley1@hotmail.com.