It’s just business - Artistes react to backlash from Vaz party line-up announcement

March 08, 2019
 Lionel Rookwood
West Portland MP Daryl Vaz hugs his wife, Ann-Marie, who the party plans to put forward to contest the April 4 East Portland by-election.
Lionel Rookwood West Portland MP Daryl Vaz hugs his wife, Ann-Marie, who the party plans to put forward to contest the April 4 East Portland by-election.
Queen Ifrica
Queen Ifrica

Plans are in full swing for Jamaica Labour Party East Portland candidate Ann-Marie Vaz to host her birthday bash/free stage show in Portland.

Reggae and dancehall stars like Queen Ifrica, Teejay, Christopher Martin, Bounty Killer and Sizzla, are among those featured on the flyer.

The party is slated for Friday, March 22, only two weeks before the by-election for the vacant East Portland seat, which will be contested by Vaz and the People's National Party's Damion Crawford.

But artistes billed for the show have faced mixed reactions from their fans.

A source close to Sizzla told THE WEEKEND STAR that since the flyer had been posted on social media, there has been a bit of a backlash.

"People ah respond say the artiste gone do political thing for Labourite, but through the work he is doing with Sizzla Youth Foundation, he knows the politicians and him and everybody good," the source explained.

For Pamputtae, it is business as usual.

"Honestly, I don't care about the view that it is related to politics, I am just working to feed my children. At the end of the day my kids have to eat ... I am a single mother," she told THE WEEKEND STAR. "I am getting paid so why not go? It nuh matter if it is a politician or not, politician nuh human being too?"

However, the Single Mother singjay, like a few other entertainers billed for the event, was unaware that it was a stage show.

She said the she thought that the event would have been a private affair.

But like Pamputtae, Queen Ifrica is still open to the idea of performing for Vaz.

"Everybody who know me, know seh them cannot call Queen Ifrica and talk about no political affiliation. Ah work me a work and I am going there to perform like always," Queen Ifrica said.

But the management team for dancehall rising star Squash, is not pleased.

"Someone reached out requesting Squash to perform, but we did not confirm. So it is a shock to see his image on the flyer and it has caused a bit of controversy with organisers of other functions that he is booked for on other dates in the parish," said Squash's manager, Junior 'Heavy D' Fraser.

However Vaz's husband Daryl, who is also the JLP West Portland Member of Parliament, said: "I have hosted three such events with almost the same line-up, and the last was during election season. Anyone who tells you they were led to believe it's a private function, I say: 'LOL'. I am using the same organiser/promoter as I have used before and any issue that any individual artiste has, they can deal with my organiser who they confirmed the date with and took deposit."

Vaz says that he does not wish for any political mischief for an event that is being held for all Portlanders to participate.

"My wife and I are very well respected by artistes because of our passion and work in Portland, hence the overwhelming support we get," he said.

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