A Delve Into Dabdoub’s Dabble

I usually read the online editions of both The Daily Gleaner and The Jamaica Observer and on May 28, 2009, a story that appeared in both caught my eye. It was the one about Abe Dabdoub and his legal representatives asking that they be compensated to the tune of almost J$50 million by Daryl Vaz. This amount, they claim, is what it cost to litigate Dabdoub v. Vaz, which, as we all know, had to do with whether Vaz was legally entitled to be seated in Parliament because he was a dual-national who had pledged allegiance to the another country.

As it turned out, this case resulted in opening up the proverbial can of worms about other JLP MPs in Parliament as well as one (that we know of, so far) PNP member who also are dual-nationals and are currently seated in Parliament. According to the Jamaican Constitution, the only folks eligible to seek elected office (and thus sit in Parliament) are native/naturalized Jamaicans and Jamaicans who might be citizens of a British Commonwealth country. Also, if one is a citizen of a British Commonwealth nation who has resided in Jamaica for at least 12 months prior to elections, they are eligible to present themselves to the electorate for consideration as an elected representative.

The case and the issue(s) it raised have generated a number of opinions but it’s fair to say that a consensus, whatever the degree of (in)formality, has, more or less, been arrived at: this issue must be addressed and changes to the Constitution to address it must happen.

With regard to Dabdoub and his seemingly pricey financial demands, there seems to something rather obscene about it. I know if you reside in the US, you look at this and say that asking the US equivalent of approximately $550,000 (assuming US$1 = J$90) is not much but this is not the US we’re talking about here.

My point is not that Dabdoub and his legal team might not be due compensation but rather it’s the underlying message that’s being conveyed. Dabdoub lost in the 2007 general elections to Vaz and he and his legal team is now more than happy to try and levy a fee that they hope will preoccupy and embarrass Vaz.

As if that were not enough, there’s the report that he, Dabdoub, has asked that another JLP MP, Michael Stern, be declared bankrupt because Stern has failed to pay legal fees to Dabdoub for a case against Stern by a Dabdoub client, Richard Azan, a member of the PNP.

I am sure Dabdoub would tell anyone that this is a matter of principle and the law and nothing more. While that might be true, one does get the sense that there is more to this than meets the eye. How about bitterness and vindictiveness? In asking that Michael Stern be declared bankrupt, Dabdoub knows that this declaration would mean Stern would have to give up his seat in Parliament because someone declared/filing bankrupt(cy) would be ineligible to be in Parliament. In asking Vaz to pay an almost $50 million legal bill, Dabdoub figures that Vaz would be so preoccupied in trying to foot this bill that he could not effectively perform his governmental duties and it would likely lessen his effectiveness as an elected representative.

What I see here is Dabdoub trying to make Vaz’s (and, by extension, the JLP’s) victory at the polls a Pyrrhic one. They won but it will be so costly that it could be that they only serve one term because they’re bogged down with mundane and pedestrian issues rather than on the more pressing and important ones. If it does work it would be despite Dabdoub’s actions and not because of it.

Still, I see Dabdoub as a loser. He’s a loser for the following reasons:

  1. He lost in the general election to Vaz.

  2. He lost because the PNP hierarchy decided to have someone else contest the resulting by-election.

  3. He lost the PR battle. He comes across looking greedy, bitter and vindictive – qualities that Jamaicans are increasingly detesting in those desiring to represent them and their interests in Parliament.

Is there anything wrong with being a man of principles? Absolutely not. However, if you are going to be the equivalent of a gadfly to JLP candidates why not be one to some of your fellow PNP candidates? Whether or not certain JLP MPs are financially bankrupt is open to question but from a leadership and moral standpoint, there’s no question that quite a few, JLP and PNP, are indeed bankrupt and need to go. Of course I don’t expect Dabdoub to be such a gadfly since this is just business and nothing personal, right? Yeah, uuhhh right.

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Thank you Trevor for this piece, a friend called me re Dabdoub’s legal fees compensation, but it was so unbelievable, because I did not see the news item myself, but now you have confirmed it. My take on it is that the J.L.P. is their own worse enemies, too trusting they open their gates and take in the proverbial,’ WOODEN HORSE OF TROY’. Abe should never, never have been allowed to return to the J.l.P. Mr. Seaga is the consumate statesman, too principled to ever believe that other people think like he does. After the October 1980, J.L.P.victory, Mr. Seaga delcared, ‘ malice to none’ and Green Bay became a part of our sesmic History. Gold Street fire and Eventide was lot in the ashes of political victory. What Mr. Seaga did not understand is that most people do not think about Jamaica, it is the ME first. So after all he and his party did in 1989 the greedy people threw them out of power, even after putting the country back on it’s feet after that devastating hurricane Gilbert.
You see we are not about building a nation, we are all about how much I can milk from the system. I know very little about legal issues, but this is like madness, Mr. Vaz id not initiate this court case? Please clear up my confusion.
My last take is,’ Mr Golding be warned the infiltration is real, and those members of the party who are not lining up behind our Prime Minister, you know yourself, but beware, Mr. Peter Phillips’ silence is too loud to give any of you any comfort, so you had better stay focused, because you might all just find yourelf on the other side of Gordon House quicker that a flash of lightening. Work is there to do, you might not like your leader, but have some love for the people of this country.You are a public servant, voted in to serve all citizens and if you have personal egos and vendettas just remember that,’A house divide by it self cannot stand’ for divided we fall.Mr. Orette Bruce Golding is the Prime Minister, our leader, we all need to give him every opportunity to make us as a pople successful. So if you have aproblem, it is better not to stay in and sabotage.You connect the dots, Ian Hayles worked as Mr. Seaga’s Administrator, where is he now, he thought that Portia’s popularity could put him on the winning side, you had the wrong deck Ian. But you know deception is a great sin, and you can never convince old Toby as to why you got that job. No one can convince me that allowing Abe Dabdoub back into the J.L.P. was one of the biggest mistake made by the J.L.P. I could point our more cases but that enough for today, except to say Skeng Don and his neighbours will fete you, will have fish feasts, brthday parties and when they intoxicate you, they will cut off your hair like Deliah and Samson.
This is th last seed of HOPE for JAMAICA IF WE DO NOT NUTURE IT – HATI WILL BE A PARADISE COMPARE TO JAMAICA. I read Dr. the Rev. Henley Morgan’s piece re the middle class with deep trepidation, knowing the situation now, that piece in my opinion is throwing the cat into the pigeon coop, upset the middle class and you stand on shaky ground. Dr. Morgan you are a man of God, but the Lord does not look at the outward appearance, He looks at the heart.
This country does not need another P.N.P REGIME FOR ALONG TIME. But trust me I will be very hard on any J.L.P. WHO SCREW UP!!!!!

Oliver Hunter

Griffins – Mr. Dabdoub is framing a new policy.
If you cant win the electoral war then make sure and win the financial one.
It is easy to stand up for principles when there is a 50 million price tag attached.


Need to ask all these money hungry people where they are going with it. You came into the world with nothing and you will certainly not take it with you. The man that Jesus spoke about, he pulled down his barns and built new ones, Jesus ask when you dead where will your soul be?
The organizing committee who took the decision to build a ‘white elephant’ in Trelawny for the World Cup is not to ask us tax payers to right off the debt. You see Portia and her fool fool Cabinet thought that the winning of the World Cup by the West Indies would put them back into power. You built it, spent money for the incorrect reasons, Now we are not to help you , you selfish bastards.

By the way are Richard? Has the cat got your fingers, you can’t type anymore.

Trevor Dawes

Griffins, the thrust of the article is not so much that Abe Dabdoub left the JLP for the PNP and/or vice versa. Rather, it’s about his seeming bitter and vindictive nature and the fact that he’s seeking revenge for his showing at the polls in the 2007 general elections.

As to the JLP being their worst own enemy, there might be a smidgen of truth to that. Bruce and the JLP came into power promising to be different and better than the PNP gov’t they defeated. Bruce also promised to be a more (positive) transformational figure than either PJ or Portia. Truth is, on both counts he has failed and on the former even more glaringly so. The excuse that the global economic recession has tied the govt’s hands is true to a degree but the fact that they waited for things to get worse before they acted has not helped. When combined with their lack of a good communication strategy, well you can see why the JLP gov’t might be a one-term-and-out gov’t.


Hello Trevor, I took the opportunity to mention the crossing the fence and back not because that is the essence of the article but, I have always felt that way about crossing the floor. Writing about Abe gave me an opportunity. I do not have to analyse yur piece, I can add another phase to the discussions. The background to it is that there was an adversarial situation between him and Mr. Seaga and then wham he is back in, he really seems to live up to your description. The J.L.P. ENERGY IS BEING BURNT UP WITH – CRIME, THE ROGUE SECURITY FORCE,THE DUAL CITZENSHIP ISSUES, THE PARTY CONTRIBUTORS, THE GLOBAL RECESSION. EVEN THE STEP MOTHER OF THE GIRL WHO DIED IN THE ANANDALE FIRE IS BLAMING THE P.M. WHERE ARE THE CIVIL SERVANTS? WHERE ARE THE MOTHER AND FATHER, THEY HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITY. lOOK I AM NOT MR. Golding’s defence attorney, but he has a hard job. If I belived in jinxsI wold come to the conclusion that there is such. The 80’s was faced with the same problems. OPEC AND OIL – ALUMINA PARTNERS CLOSED.HURRICANE GILBERT, A LARGER MARGIN IN THE HOUSE, BUT WITH THE OPPOSITION OUT OF Parliament they had time to solidify themselves with the electorate. Bam the tables turned on February 9, 1989. The world recession eased, countries around the world bloomed, Jamaica slipped further away from civility, while the P.N.P. HELD OUT THE PROVERBIAL CARROT ON THE STICK AND THE ‘ILLITERATE’ NOT UNEDUCATED, FOR YOU MAY HAVE LEARNT FROM A BOOK, BUT YOUR ABILITY TO TAKE OFF YOUR POLITICAL BLINDERS, PERVENTS CRITICAL ANALYTICAL THINKING.
Look when I haer some so call educated persons talk about how whte people gave Bolt a fast car to kill him and that Mark Shields must go home, yet in the interest of closing the cold cases is what he is being retained for. An uneduated lady said to me that when she looks at local T.V. AND SEE THE SEXUAL MOVES , SHE WONDERS WHY WE COMPLAIN ABOUT AIDS, WHEN ALL WE ARE FEEDING PEOPLE WITH IS SEX, SEX AND MORE SEX. I respected her views.

Mark Lee

Hi Griffins, please try to avoid all caps unless it is necessary or only for a few words. Makes it harder to read. Regards.

Kevin Forge


When exactly did Abe Dabdoub “return to the JLP”?

As far as I can remember he was always a member of the JLP from the days when it was led by a National Hero. His 1st time changing parties was when he went over to the PNP in 2006.

As for this claim of costs, that’s just not how the system works in Jamaica. You can claim any sum you want as costs and you can itemize it any way you like. The court has a formula it uses to calculate these things which produces much smaller figures than what lawyers actually charge.

Which means a smaller figure than Mr. Dabdoobe’s $50,000,000 windfall is very likely.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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