(Radio Jamaica) Western Portland is heading for a by-election.
This follows Friday’s ruling by the Appeal Court in the dual citizenship case between the People’s National Party’s (PNP’s) West Portland candidate Abe Dabdoub and the sitting Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament (MP) Daryl Vaz.
Written judgements have not yet been handed down however, Court of Appeal President, Justice Panton said the court had ruled to affirm the Chief Justice’s ruling that the JLP’s Daryl Vaz was not eligible to be elected MP as he had pled allegiance to a foreign state.
It also upheld her ruling that Mr. Dabdoub should not be awarded that seat, but that there should be a by-election instead.
A large contingent of representatives from the JLP was on hand at the court room and cheerfully welcomed the verbal outcome of 17 months of wrangling over the seat.
The decision was an obvious sense of relief for Mr. Vaz.
“I’m relieved and happy, very happy … I didn’t know what would be the outcome but I’m glad that the weight of the Government and party is off my shoulders,” he said.
Mr. Vaz is supremely confident of his chances at the polls the second time around and is setting off full steam ahead with his election campaign.
“I was the people’s choice in 2007, and I remain the people’s choice now.”
On the other hand, despite his technical victory, there was a palpable air of disappointment from Mr. Dabdoub’s attorney, Jaleel Dabdoub.
“Obviously, we’re pleased that Mr. Vaz is disqualified, that was our position from the beginning and it is good that we’re vindicated but we’re disappointed in the ruling of a by-election … while we’re still victorious in the overall proceedings, we find that the by-election was wrong (and) the law was clearly in favour of Mr. Dabdoub,” he said.
The Appeal Court ruling also has implications for other JLP candidates who ran in the 2007 general elections and were alleged to have sworn allegiance to other countries.
They are MP for North East St Ann, Shahine Robinson, MP for North West Clarendon, Michael Stern and Gregory Mair, who is the ruling party’s MP for North East St Catherine.