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General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr. Horace Chang, has lodged a formal complaint with the Political Ombudsman following a call by Central Westmoreland Member of Parliament, Dwayne Vaz, during his address at a mass meeting in St. James on Thursday, for supporters of the people’s National Party (PNP) to “load up di gun dem”, which he says is a clear breach of the political code of conduct which could serve to incite political violence.

The JLP General Secretary is also calling on the PNP hierarchy to rein in its members and to discipline Mr. Dwayne Vaz in particular for his reckless and irresponsible utterance. Dr. Chang said: “I was shocked when I head the comment. I cannot believe a Member of Parliament would instruct his supporters to ‘load up di gun’.”

These are the inflammatory words spoken by Mr. Dwayne Vaz: “Mi hear a likkle ting guh dung roun’ a Granville tonight. I don’t get di full story suh I don’t really waah seh nutten. But mi hear some Labourite roun’ di corna a laugh an’ a talk seh how PNP office bun dung. But, and according to dem, whole heap more tings lef fi come. But wi waah tell dem seh, caah wi nuh know if a dem dweet or wah. A dem dweet? A dem dweet? But guess wah, a baby strength dem have. Girl strength alone dem have. Eh? U see wah gwaan today? Unooh see wah gwaan today? Montego Bay, load up di gun!”

In his letter to the Political Ombudsman, Dr. Chang said: “Our Party Leader, Andrew Holness, is leading by example and has set the tone that will guide our campaign and political activities in general. Violence or conduct that could incite people to violence is not part of the JLP’s political strategy. It is something we must never condone as it pits our people against each other and tears communities apart. We are gravely concerned therefore that an elected representative could even think to say such a thing on an advertised public political platform, let alone say it, and in the wake of such an utterance, there is no immediate public rebuke or dissociation from the PNP with which he is affiliated.”

Chang’s letter continued: “Dwayne Vaz’s conduct represents a clear breach of the political code of conduct to which both the JLP and the PNP subscribe. We invite you to take an active interest in the matter as Political Ombudsman as incitement to violence, especially gun violence, cannot be part of political life in modern Jamaica. For MP Vaz to have so conducted himself, it is evident that there is need for a further maturing of our politics and the level of respect for each other that would see us conducting our affairs in a dignified and incident-free manner.”

Dr. Chang called on all political actors to be conscious of their action and words to ensure that the election campaign is peaceful. He says the Opposition Leader will be writing to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to express his concern and restate his call for a joint symbolic walk of communities to promote peace and political maturity.

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