Regional

'Sexist comments'

Vaz says talks downplaying her leadership ability unfair

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 18, 2019

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JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) standard-bearer for the Portland Eastern by-election, Ann Marie Vaz says comments questioning her ability to represent the rural constituency are sexist.

Vaz, in a telephone interview with the Jamaica Observer North & East last Wednesday, said those who know her know that she is quite capable of leading the constituency, and that she has the requisite skills to represent constituents in the House of Representatives.

Several supporters of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) have said Vaz is merely the face of the JLP campaign, and that if elected on April 4 her husband Daryl, who is the Member of Parliament for the neighbouring constituency of Portland Western, will be the one running the show.

He is also the minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for the land, environment, climate change and investment portfolios.

“I will respond to that by saying gender equality. It's really sexist to believe that because I am a woman married to a powerful man that I would need him to run my constituency. The truth is, anybody who knows us will laugh at such a suggestion. I find it to be sexist,” said Vaz.

She also said the comments are unwarranted since several family members currently sit in Parliament and have received little flack for it.

The candidate, at the same time, questioned the legitimacy of comments which suggest that she should not become the Member of Parliament for constituency because it would mean a couple has control of an entire parish.

“If it was his brother running nobody would say anything. I have no issue with the Opposition leader and his son being in politics, because guess what happen? A doctor's son or daughter would primarily end up in that field. A lawyer, the same. So what is this thing with politics? Do you know where that is coming from? [[It is] the stigma, the corruption that comes with politics. Nobody would question me in a different arena with my husband other than in the political arena,” she stated.

Vaz said she decided to enter representational politics because of a genuine love for people.

“What I have to say is that I am here or the love of the people of East Portland. I, Ann-Marie Vaz could not [and] would not run another constituency. My political career will begin and end in East Portland. I will win the next general election and I will make the lives of over 80,000 people better in East Portland. That's not a promise; that is what I will action in East Portland,” she said.

Vaz is expected to run against PNP Senator Damion Crawford.

The seat became vacant due to the death of PNP MP Dr Lynvale Bloomfield.


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