There is a price to be paid for doing wrong, but there is most certainly a price to be paid for doing right too. Ironically, in many instances, doing the right thing can be detrimental to a political career.
Right or wrong, if a politician disagrees with the party leader in countries like Jamaica, there is certain punishment for this perceived lack of loyalty.
Ms Diane Abbott — who is of Jamaican parentage — has been unceremoniously removed from her post in the shadow cabinet of the Labour Party in Britain. This lioness of British politics is known to be outspoken and uncompromising in her views and actions.
She has veered from the Labour Party line on several occasions, voting against the Iraq war, nuclear weapons, and ID cards, demonstrating an independence hardly tolerated in politics anywhere.
Her willingness to express independence of views has been necessary and an invaluable quality in order to emerge and survive in British politics, in which politicians and voters are not entirely free of racism.
Ms Abbott's views and eloquence have been frequently applauded and awarded, especially in the areas of human rights and foreign policy. Emblematic of her brilliance was her speech on civil liberties in the House of Commons debate on the Counter-Terrorism Bill in 2008 for which was awarded 'Parliamentary Speech of the Year' by the prestigious magazine, The Spectator.
It was this acuity of intellect that got her to Newnhan College, Cambridge University, where she studied history and was mentee of the famous Professor Simon Scharma.
Her strong statements against racism have, on several occasions, become controversial. She has not always been as circumspect in the heat of the moment in a society that prizes politeness and discretion.
We understand that sometimes people who, like her, have had to swim against an unrelenting tide of racism and gender discrimination feel constrained to "tell it like it is". History shows that when fighting against a system of colonialism, or slavery, or racism, being polite rarely works.
Born in London on September 27, 1953, Ms Abbott became the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1987. She has been member of parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington for 25 years. Among her notable achievements on behalf of the small membership of blacks in the Labour Party was the symbolic gesture of offering herself as a candidate for the post of party leader.
Her tenacity and seniority were finally acknowledged when she was named shadow public health minister in 2010. Now, after three years, she has now been shuffled out of the pack.
Still, we salute and laud Diane Abbott for her lifetime of service to Jamaicans in Britain and in the homeland of her parents, and indeed her work on behalf of black people in Britain and throughout the world. We encourage her to not lose heart and to continue the struggle, secure in the knowledge that all great political leaders, from Garvey to Mandela, have had to overcome setbacks and adversities.