Tuesday, December 15, 2015

PNP Politician Issues Apology & Summoned To Meeting By Prime Minister After Using Vybz Kartel Lyrics On Campaign Trail

Central Westmoreland Member of Parliament (MP) on Tuesday met with the Political Ombudsman, Donna Parchment-Brown, then issued a public apology for breaching the country's Political Code of Conduct last Thursday in St James.

Speaking at a rally which was organised by the governing People's National Party (PNP), used inflammatory lyrics from a gangster song done by incarcerated dancehall deejay, Vybz Kartel, with insinuation “rolling out the guns”, an act which appeared to have promoted violence.

This was allegedly in reference to reports of a fire that damaged the office of a PNP councillor in Montego Bay earlier in the day.

Vaz first apologised to the country, then last Sunday to the National Executive Council (NEC) of the PNP.

Below is the text of his latest apology:

“I start by categorically and unreservedly stating that I publicly apologise for my utterances at the PNP public meeting on 10th December, 2015.

I also want to make it abundantly clear that when I spoke from the PNP platform at a mass meeting in Mount Salem, I did not intend to suggest any form of violent action in relation to the fire at a PNP office in Montego Bay.

This is simply not me. It was never my intention to incite violence in any way by any statement or utterance that I made. I want to make it very clear that I am not blaming anyone for the fire, since there is no information as to how this unfortunate incident started.

Violence and intimidation are not a part of my campaign strategy, and certainly not a part of the strategy of the People's National Party. I do, however, recognise that my utterances could give the impression that I am in support of gang style criminal conduct, and for this I apologise to everyone.”

The text of the apology was released to the media by the Office of the Political Ombudsman, after the meeting where Paul Burke, General Secretary of the PNP, Julian Robinson, Deputy General Secretary, and attorney-at-law Leonard Green, were also in attendance.

The meeting was held in response to a complaint that was lodged with the Office of the Political Ombudsman by the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

The Political Ombudsman said the letter of apology will be sent to Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, and copied to Dr Horace Chang, General Secretary of the JLP.

The PNP will invite Vaz on stage at a mass gospel concert scheduled for Saturday, December 19, at the party's headquarters in St Andrew, "for the purpose of a verbal apology," the Political Ombudsman announced.

She said Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has also summoned Vaz to "an important meeting" this week on the matter.

Mrs Parchment Brown said Vaz, "on his own initiative", has offered to host a seminar in his constituency with young persons from the five parish council divisions in the constituency, in January.

"The seminar will be on values and attitudes, and will bring relevant experts to make presentations," the statement said.

"The Office of the Political Ombudsman will monitor compliance with the foregoing, and stands resolutely against any action which constitutes or is likely to constitute a breach, of the Agreement and Declaration of Political Conduct, signed by the leaders of the JLP and the PNP, and against words or actions likely to prejudice good relations between various parties," the statement concluded.