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Vaz pledges to assist CASE acquire university status in five years

Published:Monday | March 25, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Ann-Marie Vaz, Jamaica Labour Party candidate for East Portland. Ian Allen Photographer

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate, Ann-Marie Vaz says she will be partnering with administrators at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) to acquire university status in five years if she is elected member of parliament on April 4.

Vaz will go up against the People’s National Party’s Damion Crawford in the by-election which became necessary following the murder of MP Dr Lynvale Bloomfield on February 2.

Last Wednesday, Vaz met with the executive body of the CASE Student Council and other students, where she addressed the issues of tuition; resource shortages at the institution, and other challenges facing students.

“I am anxiously awaiting the April 4 date, which will allow me, as member of parliament (MP), to undertake various initiatives that are in need of immediate attention, “said Vaz.

She continued “This election is about the people of East Portland. I want you to know right now that I don’t consider myself a politician. I consider myself a ‘peopletician’. What is that? Someone who is in politics for the benefit of the people. I want to hear from you. I am here as a leader who is not going to lead from behind a chair; I am going to be a leader that is pulling a shovel, lifting that dirt, and planting that tree.”

She said she is willing and committed to working hand in hand with the people of Portland, in order to make the necessary changes that will improve the lives of residents of the parish, including the youth, elderly, and disabled, who she described as an integral part of her “prosperity plan”.

“I had two years to come up with a manifesto, because in two years I would have gone across the five divisions. I would have met with the people and we would have shared the vision between us. Unfortunately, we are here. That process that should have taken two years is now taking two months. Before I present anything to anybody, I need to hear from you (the students) who are the future leaders of this country, what are your concerns,” she added.

The students highlighted the need for more resources at CASE, particularly the need for more farming equipment and tools. They also appealed for assistance with tuition, and the need for more scholarships and grants. They also pressed home the need for jobs for graduates, and the need to improve the quality of healthcare provided at the parish’s institutions, including the Port Antonio Hospital, which is experiencing a shortage of equipment.

“I believe in education, and that is evident in the work that i have done through the One Love Foundation. There are issues with the hospital. There is an investor, who is very very, very serious about health and wellness and tourism in East Portland. Another issue is a kidney dialysis centre, something that I am going to pursue within the first year of me being MP for East Portland,” Vaz vouched.

“People have to spend three/four days out of Portland, because the dialysis machine is in Kingston. I intend to change that during my first year as MP. I am pledging my commitment to ensuring that CASE becomes a university...”, she said.

“The truth is we send our children abroad to university. Jamaica has the climate that is conducive to education all year round, and we should actually look on capitalising on education here,” she added.

Highlighting how she emerged from poverty, Vaz said she was committed to assisting students to realise their dreams.

“Nobody has to tell me about hard life. Nobody has to tell me what it takes to get oneself from poverty to prosperity. I am here as a person who will enable you to take those steps to realise your dreams. You are going to be tired to see me. I am going to be here at your assembly, at lunchtime, and here to eat your food, “she told the students.