Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Vaz reprimanded for wearing dust mask in Parliament

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Parliamentarian Daryl Vaz wears a dust mask in the House of Representatives yesterday, carrying the name of a cancer-causing substance, benzene, which an air-quality report revealed is contained in the smoke currently affecting areas surrounding the Riverton City disposal site.

For the second week in a row, West Portland Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz turned up in the House of Representatives wearing a dust mask.

Yesterday, however, Speaker Michael Peart ordered that Vaz remove the mask, saying it could detract from the serious business of the House.

"I would appreciate if you could remove that," Peart said at the start of yesterday's sitting.

"I don't think the air in the Parliament at this time warrants it. I would not like for us to get to the stage where we are relying on gimmickry," he added.

Last week, Vaz told The Gleaner that "as a legislator, I am standing in solidarity with the suffering people and I am ashamed as a legislator that we can have exposed the people to this man-made disaster for decades".

"It is a systemic problem that must be dealt with once and for all," Vaz said in reference to the smoke coming from the Riverton City waste disposal site in St Andrew.

Air-quality tests have revealed the presence of cancer-causing substances being released into the atmosphere as a result of a fire, which burned for close to two weeks before being put out yesterday. Despite the fire now being extinguished, smoke is expected to continue affecting the surrounding area for days to come.