Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
A hush seemed to have descended on the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as two of their stalwarts began a fight for their freedom in a high-profile bribery and corruption case.
But in the silence at JLP headquarters on Belmont Road in New Kingston, eyebrows have been raised at how a legislator from the highest court of the land - the nation's Parliament - could become embroiled in such controversy.
Daryl Vaz, the outspoken JLP spokesman on information and communication technology (ICT) and digital society development, and the well-known Senior Superintendent of Police James Forbes appear to have been shunted out of their public duties, pending the cases against them.
Forbes' situation seems to be more straightforward, even though senior officers who ventured out to the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court, in a show of support for their beleaguered colleague, were tight-lipped on his fate.
A highly placed source, who appealed for anonymity, explained that the standard procedure in the JCF is that the relevant officer would be sent on leave pending resolution of the matter.
The Gleaner worked feverishly to make contact with JLP Leader Andrew Holness in the aftermath of yesterday's court hearing, but the calls went unanswered. Holness' assistant, Arthur Williams, also failed to respond to calls.
Late in the day, however, the persistent quest for answers was greeted with a terse response from a senior party member.
"The matter is in court," he said.
Devoid of details
A statement dispatched to the media, by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, was also devoid of details.
"Mr Vaz has informed the party of charges brought against him and he has advised of the actions he will take to clear his name and defend his innocence," it read.
The statement added: "The party takes note of the circumstances and the charges. The party is satisfied that Mr Vaz has taken the necessary steps to pursue justice within the legal system."
However, The Gleaner has been informed that Vaz was instructed by Holness during a meeting yesterday that he should retreat from the public glare.
Vaz obliged, dispatching his own statement to the media.
"As a result of my facing the court today, I have indicated to the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party that I will take leave of absence, with immediate effect, from my sole position in the party, that of shadow minister on ICT and digital society development," he said in his statement, which was issued hours before the party's.
Vaz added: "I have taken this principled position, as it is not only the correct course of action, but also I would like to distance and minimise the effect on my beloved party as this matter is strictly of a personal nature."
Vaz, who first won the Western Portland seat in 2007, later retained it in a by-election, and was again victorious in 2011, had a word for his constituents.
"I would like to assure my constituents that I will continue to serve West Portland with my 110 per cent commitment, as I am confident of being vindicated once again in the many challenges I have faced in my public life."