There is no smoke with­out fire

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION -

WHEN I read the story pub­lished a few days ago per­tain­ing to the lease of seven acres of land in Holy­well and list­ing a government min­is­ter as an in­ter­ested party, my mind im­me­di­ately ran on Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Daryl Vaz for some rea­son.

A day later, as strangely sus­pected, I learned from The Gleaner that the min­is­ter in ques­tion was in fact Min­is­ter Vaz, and it was con­firmed that he, as min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­ment, had made an of­fer to lease the said land for what I would con­sider to be the pal­try sum of J$10,000 per month, or ap­prox­i­mately US$10 per month per acre!

How is it that Min­is­ter Vaz can op­er­ate right un­der the prime min­is­ter’s nose at the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter yet is al­ways close to con­tro­versy? Is this mere co­in­ci­dence or some­thing more?

I call on the prime min­is­ter to im­me­di­ately sep­a­rate from Min­is­ter Vaz if in fact he wants us to be­lieve that he and his Government are se­ri­ous about fight­ing cor­rup­tion as, while I am not say­ing Min­is­ter Vaz did any­thing wrong here, I am a be­liever that where smoke ex­ists fire may not be far away.

Or is it that the prime min­is­ter hon­estly can­not see the ob­vi­ous con­flict of a min­is­ter of government seek­ing to par­take in a deal where he would be the ob­vi­ous ben­e­fi­ciary?

Min­is­ter Vaz was elected to look out for Ja­maicans and not to look out for him­self. In spite of state­ments he may is­sue in de­fence of his ac­tions, I am left to won­der how he could have ob­tained seven acres of land for such a ridicu­lously low price. At the very least, his min­is­te­rial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties sug­gest that he should seek the best pos­si­ble deal for government lands, and no one would re­ally be­lieve that, in this case, he has done that.



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