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Letter of the Day: Flag Dwayne Vaz for reckless behaviour

Published:Tuesday | December 15, 2015 | 12:09 AM


Dwayne Vaz represents a demographic of which the average student will miss about eight weeks of school, or about 40 of the 190 days of each school year, and where crime and violence is a matter or grave concern to residents and businesses.

It is, therefore, unfathomable as to why Mr Vaz would use the stage at a People's National Party (PNP) political rally to posture in a manner that can be construed to mean that he was inciting political violence rather than speaking about the real issues plaguing his constituency.

It was a militant Vaz who went to Mount Salem in the crime-prone parish of St James last Thursday night, and, in trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator, uttered the dangerous, offensive and highly inappropriate comments. Mr Vaz was shooting evocative lyrics from the war-themed song Weh Dem Feel Like by deejay and convicted murderer Vybz Kartel.


The bigger picture emerges when the fact that a PNP office said to be that of Michael Troupe was set ablaze Thursday night, and there are allegations swirling that Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters were responsible and also that PNP supporters were responsible. Common sense would dictate that a matter such as that be left in the hands of the police, but Mr Vaz seemed not to have an appreciation for common sense, and so he went on his soapbox.

The thuggish posture of Vaz has left much to be desired of him. In a volatile city such as Montego Bay, where the police are overworked amid runaway murders, it is deeply distressing that the MP would seek to make their jobs harder by perpetrating this sort of behaviour. His behaviour is instructive as to why Jamaica as a country has such a high social deficit as it speaks to the absenteeism of leadership and decency in critical areas of national life.

Furthermore, his behaviour is in clear breach of the Political Code of Conduct. To compound matters, he may have perhaps violated sections of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act.

According to Article 7, Section 1, Subsection (a) and (b) of the act, "A person shall not lead, manage or direct a criminal organisation; or knowingly counsel, give instruction or guidance to a criminal organisation in furtherance of its participation or involvement in criminal activity. The act defines "criminal organisation" as any gang, group, alliance, network, combination or other arrangement among three or more persons (whether formally or informally affiliated or organised or whether or not operating through one or more bodies corporate or other association).

Indeed, Mr Vaz's behaviour underlines the coarseness of our political culture. Even when confronted with indefensible facts, Mr Vaz's peccavi was fraught with arrogance, indignity and insincerity.

At the very least, the political ombudsman should flag him for his conduct on the political platform and the PNP must repudiate both him and his comments because he is an embarrassment to the party and to all decent law-abiding youth in Jamaica, especially those who have ambitions to enter representational politics.

Jamaica must not allow people like Dwayne Vaz to rake up the disgraceful residue of the politics of the 1970s and '80s.