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Charles has no plans to retire

Published:Tuesday | February 23, 2016 | 1:29 PMHorace Fisher

After a turbulent, but colourful 50 years of unbroken public service to Jamaica, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) stalwart, Pearnel Patroe Charles, who is nominated to contest tomorrow's election, has said quitting representational politics is the last thing on his mind.

The self-declared "rock-stone" Labourite, who spent 243 days in detention camp during the '70s political upheavals, and will officially be an octogenarian in a few months' time, insisted that age is not a prerequisite for serving one's country.

"When my mind and muscle can't coordinate and I am tired, I will ask the people who elected me to serve them to relieve me of the job. Nonetheless, if they say to me, Mr Charles, we have found a more efficient person to do the job, then I will step down," declared Charles, who sports the conspicuous two-tone hairstyle.

"When my people (constituents) indicated to me that my time has come, I will go and tell them thanks for six terms in the lower house of Parliament (member of parliament), two terms in the upper house (senator), and two terms in the Kingston and St Andrew Cooperation (councillor)," said Charles, who is in an intense political battle with the People's National Party's candidate, Dr Desmond Brennan for a fourth consecutive term in North Central Clarendon.

He opined that a sustainable political organisation must rely on a mix of youth and experience. And according to the fiery, feisty and unapologetically outspoken candidate, it would be foolhardy to appoint unprepared persons for certain positions within the party.

Charles praised his colleague, Mike Henry, as an extraordinary, excellent politician. Henry will also turn 80 this year. However, Charles said he would be making a big mistake to walk away from his Central Clarendon stronghold.

"Mike is a remarkable, strong guy. He is a top performer in his constituency and across Jamaica, and if the people feel he should continue to serve them, he would be stupid to turn down his people's request," Charles insisted.