Tue | Dec 6, 2016

SOS! Vaz urges Seaga, Golding to rescue the JLP

Published:Sunday | January 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

Outspoken Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament (MP) Daryl Vaz has issued an urgent call for former party leaders Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding to jointly intervene and help reorganise the party to make it a viable alternative and ready for possible election victory in the near future.

Vaz, the MP for West Portland, has been away from the JLP's seat of power since he led an unsuccessful attempt by Audley Shaw to unseat the party's leader Andrew Holness in 2013.

However, Vaz is adamant that his call for the intervention of the party's elder statesmen is not because he is opposed to Holness leading the party or any lingering bad blood because of the crushing defeat of Shaw, whom he had backed loudly and publicly.

'For me, it is all about winning. There is no bad blood, but there is no second prize in politics."

NEED FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

According to Vaz, some of the criticisms levelled against Holness have been unreasonable, given his lack of experience, "but three years after its defeat at the polls, the JLP is nowhere ready to face the electorate again and people must be held accountable".

"Three years after the election loss, the party has not discussed the report commissioned by the leader to evaluate the loss. What I have read was in your paper," said Vaz, as he argued that a commitment was given that the report would have been shared, and he wants that discussion to take place.

"If we do not look at and assess the loss in 2011, how can we learn from our mistakes and plan for victory? We need to know where we are going and what is the plan to get there," declared Vaz.

"I am convinced the party needs the joint intervention of Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding immediately, based on their vast political experience, and the fact that both have been JLP leaders and prime ministers. They have an obligation to the party and to the country," argued Vaz.

He added that with more than 80 years in politics between them, Seaga and Golding need to play a role in the JLP, such as that which former prime minister and former People's National Party (PNP) president, P.J. Patterson, sometimes plays in the PNP.

He wants the two former leaders to do an immediate clinical assessment of the party to guide the present leadership on measures to ensure that the party is ready for elections and ready to take on the job of governing the country.

Vaz said it was critical that the two elder statesmen intervene immediately, as local government elections are to be held shortly and "I expect [an] early general election".

DISAPPOINTED IN LACK OF INVOLVEMENT

Vaz declared his disappointment in the lack of involvement in party matters by the two former leaders.

He charged that the JLP needs to examine why it has not capitalised on the fact that all opinion polls show the PNP falling down badly.

He said his only agenda is to see the JLP become ready for government once the people call.

"I am loyal and committed to my party, the people of Portland, and Jamaica. A united and organised JLP is the vehicle I believe to be the best at managing the affairs of the country," declared Vaz.

However, he was quick to add that he is not a blind follower of any leader, anywhere - political or otherwise. "But, if you can motivate and inspire me I will follow.

"I have to be motivated and inspired to give my all to any organisation with which I am involved. Where we are as a country right now, the political polls and sections of the media, and the general populace are reflecting that the two parties' leaders are not inspiring hope.

"This is causing great concern within the two parties and I am not one who will not voice my opinion. I will speak it as it is. I speak my truth boldly and fearlessly," said Vaz, the former go-to person in the JLP administration led by Golding.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com