Duane Smith | Jaristotle thinking with his heart and not his brain
In an article published in The Gleaner on May 31, a contributor under the pseudonym J'Aristotle stated that "The saga - his description of the events unfolding between Pearnel Charles and Robert Nesta Morgan - is reminiscent of that which followed Derrick Smith's retirement as MP for North West St Andrew, wherein his son Duane was not the party's candidate of choice to succeed him. Apparently, these folks think that there is an indubitable entitlement for their offspring to be their successors."
Allow me to clarify to the editors at The Gleaner that at no point did Derrick Smith or myself state publicly or in any other manner that I was entitled to succeed him. On the contrary, it was stated that the delegates be given the opportunity to select their next member of parliament rather than parachuting someone; whether myself or another, into the constituency.
I have served as an elected official for over half a decade, worked in the constituency I sought to represent, not as my father's son, but as a councillor for the Chancery division; all before I desired to become the next member of parliament.
More harm than good
It appears that being the son of the former MP has done more harm than good in my particular case; as it worked against me more than in my favour. It is misleading and irresponsible to state that either Derrick Smith or I at any given point voiced any entitlement to the North West St Andrew constituency.
The situation in North Central Clarendon is very different from the circumstances which unfolded in the constituency I represent as councillor and I wish to clearly distinguish both cases.
1. Dr Clarke and I were at all times very cordial and respectful towards each other, and ultimately worked together to deliver a comprehensive victory for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). There was not, at any time, any form of grouse of bitterness towards each other.
2. The delegates were the focus of my bid to become the next MP. I sought to have the delegates select their next representative in a democratic manner and welcomed Dr Clarke to do the same. At no time was a sense of entitlement expressed, as I have always been a firm believer in democracy. This was not an unreasonable expectation from a party that espouses equal rights and justice.
3. The author of the May 31 Gleaner article clearly stated that in my particular instance I was not the candidate of choice for the JLP. Ignoring the fact that I am a sitting councillor for the Chancery Hall division in the constituency is disingenuous but serves his narrative that my only claim to my ambitions is based on succeeding my father.
It is the ambition of every councillor to one day be able to further their political ambitions, and even more so the dream of every son to exceed the accomplishments of his father. That I will not apologise for, and I have worked very hard as a politician over the years to build my own platform and my own path to representative politics.
The philosopher Aristotle made many fibs based on his belief that the centre of thought, cognition and emotion is the heart, while the brain is just a gray mass. I urge the writer of the article to learn from the mistakes of those he emulates and engage his brain in the intellectual discourse, especially concerning politics, so that his reasoning can be from the collection of facts rather than the expression of feelings.
- Duane Smith is councillor for the Chancery division in North West St Andrew.