Sun | Jun 17, 2018

'Greatest insult!' - JLP squabble over NW St Andrew intensifies

Published:Wednesday | January 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Derrick Smith

Former member of parliament and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) veteran, Derrick Smith, has accused the party's general secretary, Dr Horace Chang, of issuing to him the "greatest disrespect of his political career" as the squabble over who should take over as caretaker of North West St Andrew constituency escalates.

An irritated Smith, responding to a letter written by Chang yesterday, informing him that the powerful central executive of the JLP had taken the decision last Sunday to remove him as caretaker for the North West St Andrew constituency, made known his feelings in a feisty letter to Chang, a copy of which was obtained by The Gleaner.

"That decision is totally redundant and meaningless," Smith said, schooling his one-time political ally and Cabinet colleague.

"As a member of the JLP for over 30 years and as general secretary for over 10 years, you should know that the position of caretaker is effectively vacated upon my resignation as member of parliament," the recently retired MP of nearly four decades said.

"But the decision of the central executive in which you and the deputy chairman fully participated is even more curious, bearing in mind that you and the deputy chairman conducted an interview of candidates for the post of caretaker for the constituency," Smith added, intimating at the existence of political ploy by the men to undermine him and act against his wishes.

 

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Sources close to the situation informed The Gleaner that the JLP selection committee interviewed Smith's son Duane and Dr Nigel Clarke for the post after speculation surrounding Smith's exit from the Lower House of Parliament had been confirmed.

"Above all, Dr Chang, I regard the initiative taken by you and the deputy chairman at the central executive as the greatest insult of my political career," Smith declared.

According to Smith, he will be taking the matter to the constituency's executive, of which he is still the chairman.

These latest developments come amid tension over the process to replace the now-retired Smith.

The JLP elder has insisted that his son Duane should replace him, but Gleaner sources say influential JLP officers are eyeing Clarke to be the replacement.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com