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Dwayne Vaz: I have fallen short - Embattled PNP MP apologises once more for singing violent lyrics

Published:Monday | December 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMDaraine Luton
The Reverend Ronald Thwaites (left), Phillip Paulwell (second right) and Anthony Hylton (right) lend support to colleague People’s National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament Dwayne Vaz during the party’s gospel concert outside PNP headquarters on Old Hope Road, St Andrew.

Central Westmoreland Member of Parliament Dwayne Vaz says he "will never ever use songs with violent lyrics again".

Vaz has been on the receiving end of condemnation following his decision to sing parts of Vybz Kartel's Wah Dem Feel Like at a public meeting in Mount Salem, St James, on December 10.

He performed the song after making reference to a fire which destroyed the political office of Michael Troupe, councillor for the Salt Spring division, and intimated that it might have been done by supporters of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party.

"The whole intention was to just vibes up the place," Vaz told The Gleaner.

He said that, on reflection, he should not have used the lyrics, adding that as a legislator, he has to exercise a greater degree of care in both his utterances and his deeds.

Vaz, who succeeded the late Roger Clarke as MP in a by-election a year ago, has apologised at least three times for his conduct, including once through the Office of the Political Ombudsman.

On Saturday night, the first-time MP read an apology from his smartphone to a small gathering of PNP supporters in front of the party's Old Hope Road offices in St Andrew.

"Good night, Comrades. Praise the Lord, Comrades," Vaz said as he opened his address at the poorly attended gospel concert which was being staged by the party.

The MP told Comrades that he realised he had erred and even quoted from the Bible.

He referenced Romans 3:23, which states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God to illustrate his fallibility.

"It was never my intention to incite violence in any way," the young MP said.

Wrong impression

He said he recognised that his utterances could have given the wrong impression that he was in support of gang-style criminal conduct.

"For this, I apologise to everyone," he said.

"I made a mistake, and just like every other man, I have fallen short," he added.

Ronald Thwaites, MP for Central Kingston and member of the PNP, said Vaz's apology demonstrated that he was "a man from a high table".

He said, too, that Vaz has a future in the party.

Thwaites, East Kingston and Port Royal MP Phillip Paulwell and West St Andrew MP Anthony Hylton stood by Vaz's side as the apology was being made.

"I want to make it abundantly clear that when I spoke from the PNP platform at a mass rally in Mount Salem, I did not intend to suggest any form of violent action in relation to the fire at the PNP office in Montego Bay. This is simply not me," Vaz said.

He said, too, that he was not blaming anyone for the fire, since there was no information as to how the incident started.

"Violence and intimidation are not a part of my campaign strategy and certainly not a part of the strategy of the People's National Party," he added.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com