Vernrol Dave Briscoe, born and raised in the Frankfield area of Clarendon, is a celebrity in his own right.
He has been thrilling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) audiences with his unique ‘horse-racing’ commentaries since 1975, when he was 15 years old.
In his commentary of make-believe races, Briscoe personifies competing horses – giving them the names of election candidates. To the fancy of the JLP audiences, the JLP ‘horses’ usually emerge victorious.
As a result of his horse-themed commentaries, Briscoe is now widely known as Horseman.
Even prime ministers know him well. The late former prime minister, Edward Seaga, knew him best.
“Mr Seaga is my idol; him comes like mi father,” Briscoe declared.
He spent virtually all of his adult life in the Kingston Western constituency, where Mr Seaga served as Member of Parliament.
Briscoe enjoys travelling with JLP supporters to political meetings across the island.
He, last week Sunday, was at the Clarendon Northern constituency conference in kellits, where he delivered his latest performance to a highly receptive crowd.
Briscoe however stated that he is sometimes slighted due to his staunch support for the JLP.
He, for example, thinks his political affiliation is the reason he never got a job as an official horse-racing commentator at Caymanas Park – Jamaica’s premier horse-racing venue.
“When I go to the interview to get a work at Caymanas Park, I get a lot of political fight,” Briscoe claimed, noting that he will never surrender his political allegiance for a job.
He is employed to the state-owned National Solid Waste Management Authority, and he sometimes does commentary at minor events.
Briscoe explained that he, over the years, was inspired by formidable commentators such as Chris Armond, Edward ‘Ed’ Barnes, and Howard Abrahams.
He did not only draw inspiration from others; he inspires people.
“You have a lot of people trying to imitate mi, but dem can’t do wah me do,” Briscoe said.
He explained that, to remain current, he has been introducing new elements to his presentation.
He, for example, is now doing football-themed commentary – not just horse racing.
Briscoe said he was born to be a commentator. “The technique I use is just the raw talent – the talent that I born with,” he told The Beacon.
Briscoe, in the meantime, stated that, in the end, he does not only want to be remembered for his decades of political horse-racing commentaries.
“Remember me as a man who love everybody whether you are Labourite or PNP; mi love everyone,” he declared.
Briscoe, who also said he fathers 14 children, has 21 grand-children and five great-grands.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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