THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am forced to make a few comments on the article by Mr Daryl Vaz headlined 'Shaw vs Holness - the criterion is winnability' (Sunday Gleaner, September 15, 2013, at the expense of being labelled a supporter of Mr Andrew Holness.
I admire Mr Vaz's dedication to his constituents. Personally, I believe that he is among the top-five MPs in Gordon House, in terms of his loyalty and compassion for his constituents. However, I don't believe that he should allow this passion to lead him astray.
It is quite obvious that he is frustrated by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) losses in elections over the past two decades, and he has a right to, because he feels that the party could have won with greater unity and greater focus on democracy.
But, at the same time, he seems to be deliberately ignoring the fact that his decision to join Mr Bruce Golding and others in leaving the JLP to form the National Democratic Movement (NDM) in 1995 was, I believe, the chief reason for the party being in Opposition for close to 19 years, up to 2007.
That move by Mr Golding, supported by Mr Vaz, cost the JLP more than a generation of young, intelligent and active Labourites who would have created the base for the party's return to power by 2002.
If Mr Vaz doubts this assertion, he need only to review the election results between 1997 and 2002, and see how many seats the JLP lost by just hundreds of votes in constituencies where the NDM was active and/or had candidates.
I am not sure which of Mr Golding's political mistakes was more detrimental to the party: leaving to form the NDM and removing the party's youthful flavour; or being tied up with the Manatt/Dudus issue.
However, the fact is that the second mistake turned out to be one too many for him and earned him the unfortunate distinction of being the first Jamaican prime minister to resign from office in disgrace.