Capitalise on Rev Redwood's decision

Friday, May 17, 2013

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GIVEN how the Rev Stanley Redwood gave a good account of himself during his short stint as Senate president, we have no doubt that he will, as he told this newspaper, continue to serve Jamaica from his new home in Canada.

It will be easy, we believe, for Rev Redwood to make new friends because of his humility and genuine acceptance that everyone must be treated fairly, regardless of their station or whether their views conflict with his.

When he settles down in Canada, Rev Redwood will most likely bond with other Jamaicans in the diaspora who, like him, love this country dearly, and they, we expect, will assist him to open additional doors of friendship for Jamaica, as is his intention.

So we wish Rev Redwood well as he starts a new journey. However, it would be remiss of us not to point out that his decision to leave Jamaica, ostensibly in search of a better life, sends a wrong signal to the general populace. For Rev Redwood is no ordinary Jamaican. Until last Friday, he was the man in charge of the Upper House in our legislature. As such, he played a significant role in crafting laws designed to make Jamaica a better place in which to live.

The irony of his departure and his charge to his colleague senators last Friday cannot be lost on him.

"No other Jamaican should be forced, or feel forced to make the choice I have to make this month," he said. "I feel strongly that after 50 years of Independence, Jamaica should have been further along on the pathway to be able to sustain more of the hopes and the dreams of more of its citizens.

"I voice this regret so that, as committed and patriotic Jamaicans, you might be challenged to redouble your efforts to put Jamaica first. And to put the people first."

That is a most revealing statement coming from a member of the ruling party that received a convincing mandate in December 2011 from an electorate swayed by promises of a better life.

Voters who now question his decision to migrate, and who may feel some amount of disappointment, cannot really be blamed even though he had started the process before the election.

For, by accepting the Senate appointment, Rev Redwood basically committed himself to contributing to Jamaica's development.

However, we believe that in every disappointment there lies opportunity. As such, the Portia Simpson Miller Administration should consider how best it can utilise Rev Redwood as a sort of unofficial ambassador for Jamaica. He appears, after all, intent on doing all he can to help.

Migration should not rob us of talent.




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