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JAM | Nov 9, 2023

Al Edwards | Nekeisha Burchell and Ann-Marie Vaz should not be drawn into unbecoming catfight

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I know both Ann-Marie Vaz and Nekeisha Burchell.

They are both fine, lovely woman who can contribute much to Jamaican politics and be an asset to their respective political parties.

All too often there is little solidarity with other women who then go on about the ‘boys club,” rampant sexism and that women are never given a chance.

More often than not a competition situation develops where barbs are thrown at each other and they compete for attention on social media platforms-who looks cute on Instagram.

It doesn’t make women who aspire to meaningful accomplishments look good and it only buys into perceptions many men already have they are mere confectionary.

Many in the Jamaica Labour Party have taken issue with Nekeisha taking shots at Ann -Marie Vaz, with the PNP MP-aspirant writing disparagingly about Vaz as “Drunken Ann”, “Pretty Dunce” on social media.

There can be little doubt that Ann-Marie has acquitted herself well as MP for East Portland and is regarded as a capable parliamentarian. It would be a safe bet to make that she will retain her seat with a handsome majority.

In that regard, she is what Nekeisha is yet to be, therefore respect is due.

Women in Parliament, in business, in sport, entertainment whatever field it may be, should be looking to support each other, not tear other women down.

Jamaican politics is contentious and highly adversarial and Nekeisha may have felt the need to go the route that is familiar. Those comments are not who she is. She is charming, gracious, dedicated and loyal.

She has something to contribute.

If she were to get the nod in St James Southern, win in the upcoming General Election and prove to be a performing deputy general secretary, she will be a force in the PNP and a fine example to a generation of young women. Nekeisha can do it, but she has to be mindful how she presents herself.

She shouldn’t be drawn into conflicts she doesn’t need to engage in. Save your power.

It may very well be the case that she felt hurt by the horrible remarks made about her physicality by the JLP’s Homer Davis and Senator Charles Sinclair, men who ought to know better.

Abandoned good judgement

In an interview with HG Helps – a fine journalist if I may say so – Nekeisha said: “Let’s examine the choices Charles Sinclair and Homer Davis made. They could have focused on discussing the critical issues affecting South James but instead, they chose to attack me, my character, and my body. They abandoned good judgement and common sense, prioritising my physical appearance over the pressing concerns of our constituency.”

Spot on Nekeisha! It begs the question: can Jamaican political discourse elevate itself out of the gutter to a more refined level that addresses pertinent matters?

Perhaps she lashed out in retaliation and Ann-Marie became the subject of her wrath. She’s only human, we all make mistakes. But can we learn from them and move on?

Both women can make valuable contributions to Jamaica and play a role in moving its development forward. In that, they are bonded sisters.


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