Nigel Clarke favourite to replace Derrick Smith?
Nigel Clarke, economic expert and confidant to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, is emerging as a favourite to represent the Jamaica Labour Party ((JLP) in the pending by-election for the St Andrew North West constituency being vacated by Derrick Smith.
JLP insiders have told The Gleaner that Clarke impressed during a recent interview with the party's selection committee.
"The committee members were wooed by Nigel, who has been a key part of the Government's programme with the IMF (International Monetary Fund)," said one person closely connected to discussions within the party.
"Andrew is taking no sides, as Duane Smith is the son of one of his long-time backers, Derrick, but it is clear that the members want Nigel."
While the elder Smith - who last week announced he would be resigning from St Andrew North Western - has made it clear he wants his son to replace him in the constituency he has represented for 29 years, sources have stated that that is unlikely to happen.
"Duane did not score well in a recent internal poll which showed the people love Derrick but they don't love him (Duane)," said an insider.
Clarke has served on several public- and private-sector boards and is believed to be one of the most powerful men in the administration, despite not being a minister.
He also served in the Senate where he provided strong interventions for the JLP, when it was in Opposition, on numerous bills.
"It is clear that Nigel would be a great addition to the legislative process and senior members of the party want him in the House," the insider said.