Sun | Dec 4, 2016

I’m no enemy to Andrew Holness

Published:Sunday | February 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM

I read with intrigue and interest the article written by your columnist, George Davis, 'Holness needs Daryl Vaz', which appeared in your publication on February 4, 2015. It left me no choice but to respond.

At a glance, the headline could (mis)lead one to believe that George's article is well intentioned to portray and even applaud my "usefulness as a political asset", as he puts it. On the contrary, however, it is fraught with questionable characterisations of me and innuendos that give the perception that I am no more than a "necessary evil" to Party Leader Andrew Holness and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Among the twisted references of me by George is being called "a talented but heavily flawed operative". Perhaps it is George's personal opinion of me which is heavily flawed.

 

CURIOUS CHARACTER

 

What did George mean when he stated "Given Vaz's history" and labelled me as a "curious character"? Indeed, I am curious to know and welcome his clarification. He could only be referring to the well-documented history of my political career, which spans nearly 30 years (by the way I am 51 years old, not 53) beginning as a councillor for the Waterloo division of the KSAC in 1986; a former Cabinet minister in the JLP Bruce Golding administration (2007-2011) and briefly in Mr Holness' administration; as well as a two-term member of parliament (2007-present) for the constituency of West Portland (undefeated in all elections contested to date).

I regret that I do not fit George's image of a celestial being or possess the heavenly qualities generally attributed to an angel as he pronounced "Politically, Daryl Wesley Vaz is no angel." But the electorate continues to put their faith and trust in me consistently and, for that, I feel vindicated and stand proud.

I consider these characterisations as unfortunate, false and damaging representations of my character and urge Mr Davis to be careful that he does not border on slander in his commentaries.

I must also express my disapproval of Mr Davis' unfortunate repeated reference that Party Leader Andrew Holness should "fear" me as it "makes no sense to embrace someone who's out to destroy you"or "give him time to plot another attack on Holness' position". Let me publicly declare my utmost regard and respect for Party Leader Andrew Holness, as, any concerns I have had with his leadership, I have fully expressed to him face to face and also to my other MP colleagues on several occasions in the past.

Hopefully, my recent public plea for former prime ministers and leaders of the JLP, Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding, to help the party has not been misconstrued by George as an "attempt to plot another attack" rather than well-intentioned as it was meant and in the interest of the future of the party.

Mr Davis regretfully continued: "That's why Holness needs to assign him a cause so he can expend his energies in service of his party and his leader", also questioning earlier in his article, "For instance, were the court matter not an issue, would Holness have named Vaz in the huge shadow Cabinet he has just announced?"

If Mr Davis has forgotten, I will remind him that I voluntarily offered and opted to give up my position as spokesperson on ICT and digital society development until that court case has been dispensed with, as I felt it was the principled and morally correct thing to do .

 

MY PRIORITY

 

In the meantime, my focus and energies continue to be directed at serving the people of West Portland, to improve their lives and the infrastructure of the constituency and, by extension, the parish of Portland.

Where I can openly agree with George is - (Andrew) Holness needs Daryl Vaz, but not for the reasons he has stated. In fact, Mr Holness needs to solicit the buy-in and support of every member, supporter and well-wisher of the JLP and more to achieve success at the upcoming polls for both the local government and general elections.

Further, should the JLP be given another chance at governance, Mr Holness and the party will need the support of every sector, every industry and every Jamaican to make Jamaica the prosperous nation it ought to be.

I will, therefore, give George the benefit of the doubt that his article, 'Holness needs Daryl Vaz', was meant to respectfully align me as a valuable team member of the JLP through my selfless contribution and proven track record as a public servant, rather than appearing to malign me as others have so often done in the past.

Selah.

n Daryl Vaz is MP of Western Portland. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.