Tapia praises Vaz in parting shot

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Outgoing United States Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia has delivered a ringing endorsement of Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Daryl Vaz.

In his final Facebook Live broadcast before he left the island last Friday, Tapia hinted at the decision by the US State Department to revoke Vaz’s visa just over one year ago as he declared how impressed he was by the firebrand politician.

“I find Minister Vaz to be one of the most progressive ministers that I have dealt with. He gets things done and sometimes when you get things done people will take pot-shots at you. They don’t like what you are doing so they take pot-shots and, of course, there is a lot of rumours and statements that are made about a person who steps out and is getting things done,” said Tapia, whose tour of duty ends on Tuesday, January 12, his 84th birthday.

“Minister Vaz, I give my kudos there and when I look at it he has been very helpful,” added Tapia, who had previously told the Jamaica Observer that Vaz has been a driving force in attracting potential investors to the island.

Vaz has been leading the Government’s team in negotiations with Tapia about the introduction of 5th generation (5G) wireless technology to the island with an announcement expected shortly.

Tapia also singled out Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte and his favourite, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw, for commendations.

“Minister Shaw is a people’s person. He is down with the people. He is not one who smells himself as Jamaicans say… He is a person who is very genuine and… that is why I said Minister Shaw was one of my favourites,” added Tapia.

The ambassador also used his final Facebook Live broadcast to take a parting shot at the Chinese technology firm Huawei as he repeated his allegations that the company has been using the network of a local cellular provider to listen to his telephone conversations.

Tapia has repeatedly warned that the installation of 5G mobile technology infrastructure in Jamaica by Huawei or any other Chinese firm poses several risks to the island.

According to Tapia, Jamaica’s financial sector and the tourism industry would be hard hit if the Government engages 5G technology from a Chinese source.

He has also made it clear that the US has national security concerns with 5G technology developed by Chinese companies such as Huawei.

Chinese officials in Jamaica and officials of Huawei have repeatedly denied that there is any security risk to Jamaica by the use of its technology.

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