A tearful East Portland Member of Parliament (MP) Ann-Marie Vaz is describing Councillor for the Fairy Hill Division in Portland, Derron Wood, as a man for the people, who was also a close friend of her family.
According to Vaz, she was very close to Wood for nearly 20 years with their working relationship starting only two years ago. The Fairy Hill Division of Portland is within Vaz’s East Portland constituency.
Wood died on Thursday at the University Hospital of the West Indies after being admitted Wednesday evening. He had complications that were brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and was first brought to Port Antonio Hospital.
“I am devastated right now. I am just trying to keep my head above water, because this is my second councillor who I am close with,” Vaz said, about the death of councillor for the Fellowship Division, Irvin Brown in October.
“We don’t work in politics more than how we work as a family and I am distraught because Derron Wood is my friend, long before I ever even thought that I was going to enter politics.
“We have had many dinners, many moments, many things over the past years. My children know him from they were born. This death for me by COVID is not only the death of a colleague, it is the death of a friend for over 20 years,” Vaz said.
According to Vaz, apart from being a friend, she has had a good working relationship with Wood, since defeating the People’s National Party’s firebrand Damion Crawford in a by-election on April 4, 2019.
She won by 319 votes and then retained the seat in the General Elections in September by defeating Purcell Jackson by 2035 votes.
Vaz said Wood has been committed to the people of Fairy Hill and during the period that she has been MP, they have worked on several projects.
“Derron Wood is a fixture in east Portland. Derron Wood has been a successful councillor in Fairy Hill now for four (Parish Council) elections and he is dedicated to his people. We have just become working partners now, for two years next month.
“Outside of our friendship, we had an excellent working relationship as MP and councillor, working together every single day. There are two projects that we are actively working on, before his passing that will be a substantial benefit to the people of Fairy Hill Division,” Vaz said.