Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Leave with dignity, Derrick Smith

Published:Thursday | January 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I'm concerned about Derrick Smith's recent utterances. The outgoing Member of Parliament (MP) seems to think he has the right to self-appoint his son to replace him in the constituency of North West St Andrew where he has served for 29 years.

Sorry, Mr Smith, but this is not how politics works. In fact, the outgoing MP's assumption and expectation is a big part of what is wrong with politics in Jamaica. This is not a dynasty. If his son served as councillor, wonderful, but this is not an automatic rite of passage

An MP should not determine his replacement: this should be done through a democratic process considering one's attributes, experience and potential. We saw a similar issue in SW St Andrew, when Dr Angela Brown Burke was brought in to 'take' the seat, endorsed by outgoing MP Portia Simpson Miller, while Councillor Audrey Smith Facey was shunned.


Electorate has final say


In the end, the electorate will have the final say. People like Derrick Smith should realise these are modern times, and seats should not be 'awarded' like that.

No one is entitled to hold a seat for life, neither should a seat be handed down to a family member. Politicians should also know when to call it quits. We see too many serving well beyond their retirement age, in their 70s and 80s, employed in full-time paid government jobs when they are better off as an occasional adviser.

Our political system should encourage a process of renewal, and no one should be allowed to cling to power for life. The electorate should be able to decide without fear or undue influence. Mr Smith, I'm sure your party and constituents are very grateful for your long service, but please do the right thing and leave with dignity and some decency!

P. Chin