Young Charles speaks more on politics
THE Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) deputy spokesman on national security, Pearnel Charles Jnr, an attorney who is eligible to practise both in Jamaica and New York, has said that he has always had a desire for politics and as such has ventured into a domain that many in society see as an infectious disease that has affected the progress of the nation.
"I have always had a longing for it (politics). I have always been involved even when I wasn't doing law which most people see as a natural progression into politics. It is, I imagine, what you call a calling.
"I struggle with it at times as to whether I want to put myself up for the ridicule because I know it, I'm not a neophyte, I'm not new to politics I have seen the bruising, the joys, I've seen the devastation and I've seen the victory because we've lived it as a family. So the decision to immerse myself into politics at this level was not an easy one but it was one which I do not regret," the son of veteran politician Pearnel Charles Snr told the Jamaica Observer.
"A lot of people have said to me because my dad is into politics I have been influenced to get into politics and expected me to say no it's my own decision. Of course, if my dad was a doctor or was an engineer I think I'd be more inclined to be one or the other. When I see my father's interactions with his constituents and what he has done for persons, it is natural for me to be inclined to want to do that for people."
But Charles Jnr never started out with the intention of entering politics or even becoming a politician. Having left Campion College he matriculated to the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, where he did his first degree majoring in both biochemistry and zoology.
"I'm actually a scientist at heart, my intention was to go into medicine because I thought that was the only way to cure the world and help people,"he said.
"My family is very medical. My brother is a neurosurgeon, my sister is a dental surgeon, my other sister is a doctor; I have another sister who has a PhD and my mom is a registered nurse so it was a natural path for me," the young Charles told the Jamaica Observer Press Club.
While reading for his first degree, the young attorney said that he got involved in student politics, where it started out with him being elected as class representative before it evolved into him being the faculty representative for Pure and Applied Sciences. Here, he said he got the opportunity to see outside of the sciences and was able to "understand more". Following that, he became president of his law faculty and subsequently guild president of the UWI in Cave Hill, Barbados.
"My parents welcomed the opportunity because it was one for success. I wasn't forced into politics; if anything I was told to stay away from it," he told the Observer.
The decision to enter politics through the JLP was not because of his father's affiliation with the party he insisted, but was instead because of "observations and enquiries".
"When I returned from Barbados I spoke to friends from both parties and having done that, I stepped back and said: What are the policies and what are the operational structures and the regimen that I see a JLP executing as opposed to a PNP (People's National Party) and what do I want to align myself to?
"It was clear to me that though the JLP struggled with some issues (regarding) image and how we were defined in the public's eye and even within our own supporters' eyes, the JLP was proven to be the vehicle that governed the country with more precision, and in a more deliberate way, was able to move the country forward and I thought that that would be the only option for me. Had I been in a PNP home, I think I would struggle with the deliberation of getting into politics," the recently-named deputy spokesman added.
Charles said that young people involved in politics should seek to rebuild the confidence of those they hope to lead.
"Our mandate as young people in politics is to rebuild trust, to distinguish ourselves in our utterances and our actions to try and refresh the system because Jamaica has found themselves in a sort of mode where people have removed themselves from the politics so much so that they allow things to just go on.
"They try to remain distant from what they see as a corrupt system that is going nowhere."
He said that the need is there for young people to separate themselves from political tribalism through their actions.
"The only way to address it (political tribalism) is to back up what you say with what you are doing. If you are a politician and you claim to have a new perspective on politics, you can't be caught on camera making utterances that dilute or contradict that new perspective; so we have got to be careful," he stressed.
"You have to come with a certainty. I have the advantage of not just coming as a new politician, but being a new politician who has years of resources to look back on through my father and other persons and through being intimately connected to the politics," he went on.
Charles said that while many may be of the view that young politicians have to follow suit in terms of what older politicians dictate to remain relevant in the party, time changes things.
"It might take a mile of an effort to move an inch...it is the leadership since Independence that has not only allowed or crafted the narrative and political discussion. We have years of our politics going in a particular direction and if we want to change it the first thing to understand is that it is not going to happen overnight," Charles said.
"If you are putting pressure to make that diversion and you are not seeing the results immediately you have to understand it is going to take time.
"You should not get into politics for what you can get; it is just a matter of what you want. What I can get from politics is the betterment for my country and to be able to contribute to the development of my country. Persons believe you're stepping into politics because you have an agenda and that's OK because if you don't have an agenda you shouldn't be entering politics.
"The question, however, is what is your agenda? I am a professional; I can sufficiently satisfy my needs without politics," he stated.
The younger Charles stressed that politicians have to distinguish themselves "so that when we have a plan and we require the participation of Jamaicans they will feel inclined to work with the agenda of moving Jamaica in a particular direction, which means we have to stop relying on our intentions by saying we are successful and start saying to ourselves this is what we have achieved why we are successful".