DARYL Vaz last night said he was prepared to walk away from politics because of what he labelled 'unparliamentary behaviour and unpleasant and indecent commentary emanating from the Andrew Holness campaign'.
Vaz, his voice a mixture of disappointment and anger, said the "derogatory rhetoric" was sapping his passion for representational politics and apologised to the Jamaican public who heard the comments during television coverage of the Holness campaign meeting in Old Harbour Sunday night.
The West Portland member of parliament, who is supporting Audley Shaw's challenge for the party leadership, did not point to the specific comments in a news release yesterday. However, in a previous release he had taken offence to Shaw's supporters being referred to as "losers" by speakers on Holness's platform.
The reference was to the fact that a number of the persons supporting Shaw lost their seats in the December 2011 general election.
"What I have been experiencing in the last few weeks, if this is what the party is going to be after November 10 (the date of the leadership election), rule me out, count me out. I don't have the stomach for it," Vaz told the Jamaica Observer.
"It is leaving me very, very disenchanted," he said. "Politics is my passion, and I have always said that anytime I no longer have the passion, it no longer makes sense."
Vaz implored his colleagues, "in the interest of common decency and respect for Jamaica", to desist from making statements that will affect the unity of the party after the leadership race is over, as the goal of the Opposition, he insisted, must be to unseat the present Government and not wash its dirty linen in public.
In his release to the media yesterday, Vaz said he had, from as early as August 27 during the consultations being carried out by Shaw, consistently cautioned his colleagues to be careful of their utterances against each other and to respect each other's right to decide who they wished to support.
He said it was unfortunate that certain elements in the party have not listened.
He expressed disappointment in the utterances of senior JLP officials and warned that the wrong tone was being set for the leadership challenge.
According to Vaz, it was regrettable that three elders of the JLP, "who bragged about their collective 150 years of service to the party could not have set a better example, particularly for young Jamaicans who have shown great apathy with the political system".
"This sort of conduct is contrary to the transformational style of leadership which Mr Holness boasts is characteristic of him and unfortunately which he continues to allow unabated in his presence at his campaign meetings," Vaz said.
He also questioned whether Holness's "deafening silence was in fact approval and the way forward for the party".
The leadership contest, Vaz said, would be an opportunity to dispel the perception that internal elections of the party cause irreparable damage.