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Don’t diss! Derrick Smith warns that he will not endorse Nigel Clarke if he is parachuted into St Andrew NW

Published:Monday | January 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall/ Associate News Editor
Derrick Smith

Former Member of parliament for St Andrew North Western, Derrick Smith, has declared that he would be upset if the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) selects Dr Nigel Clarke as his replacement without following its constitution.

Smith has made it clear that his son, Duane, is his choice to replace him, but JLP insiders have told The Gleaner that Clarke is the frontrunner for the post, with the announcement that he is to contest the pending by-election to be made in days.

During an interview on the programme 'Independent Talk' on Power 106FM yesterday, Smith said while he had not been told of Clarke's interest in the seat, he is confident that Duane is the right man for the job.

"As we speak, nobody in the leadership of the party has mentioned anything to me about a likely replacement. I saw Clarke's name in The Gleaner this morning and I would believe a decent way to approach my replacement would be to have a discussion with me as to who I think fits the constituency," said Smith, who has held the seat since 1989.

He added that while he would not say that Duane has a right to replace him, the party that he has spent 40 years representing, and worked hard for, would have a responsibility to follow its rules and constitution in choosing a replacement, including consulting with the constituency executives.

Smith warned that he would support Clarke only if the correct process is followed.

"If he is parachuted in and planted then they will have to look somewhere else for support because that definitely would be a breach," added Smith.

Duane Smith and Clarke reportedly faced the JLP's selection committee last week, with word coming out that while both impressed, there were questions about Duane's ability to manage a constituency.

But Derrick Smith has none of those fears.

"My son Duane, who is a two-term councillor in the constituency, one who has been meticulously prepared by me to replace me, is my personal choice, and he is the one that I am supporting full hundred," said Smith.