Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Derrick Smith walks ... veteran politician tells constituents of resignation

Published:Saturday | January 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Derrick Smith
Duane Smith
Ruel Reid
Audley Gordon
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Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority, former councillor Audley Gordon, and Smith's son Duane, who is sitting councillor, are the early names being whispered as possible replacements for Derrick Smith as the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) representative in the St Andrew North Western constituency.

Smith, the veteran politician and confidante of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, announced to his constituency executives on Thursday that he was set to resign, with indications that the resignation letter could have been submitted late yesterday.

There was no conformation that he had submitted the letter up to press time, but JLP officials said that there was no doubt that Smith would be ending his more-than-three-decade-long career in representational politics.

One of Smith's closest associates told The Gleaner that the ailing politician made the decision following consistent pleas from his family to rest.

"Thirty eight years as parliamentarian and 29 serving the people of St Andrew North-Western. You have given service over self, and I am proud to have shared in this journey with you. I sat there as you announced that last night (Thursday) would be your final executive meeting emotional and proud," Duane Smith wrote on Twitter yesterday.

Smith, leader of Government business in the Lower House, has been absent from Parliament for weeks because of his illness.

Everald Warmington has been acting in his stead.

Smith's departure will create a vacuum in the Office of the Prime Minister, where he served as minister without portfolio and also in the North West St Andrew constituency, where a by-election is expected to be held shortly.