Younger Charles solidly focused on becoming MP

Younger Charles solidly focused on becoming MP


Sunday, November 17, 2019

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Pearnel Charles Jr is preparing to enter elective politics, although hurdles in the way have been making the journey a bumpier one for him than originally planned. Son of veteran politician Pearnel Charles Sr, the young senator and lawyer has his eyes set on where his dad has virtually sealed as his own turf for 17 years.

But there are challenges to surmount before he gets to that point. One thing is certain: Young Charles knows that he would have more to offer this country were he to be elected a Member of Parliament.

“Everybody has a space where they can offer some contribution to the country. It is my desire to serve as an elected member, particularly because I believe it presents a greater opportunity to focus on a particular constituency and its members and to really help to transform those individual lives and perhaps can be seen as a greater participation in the process.

“Not to lessen what we are doing now in the Senate because that is a different but also an effective platform. I am involved a lot in community development, I have always been, will always be and I think it is because of that aspect of my own existence that I have a desire to really extend myself into that representational side of the politics,” Charles Jr told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

“But everybody has a place to give. Some people won’t get into politics and will contribute more to the transformation of this country in a positive way than many persons who are in politics. Several persons called on me and asked me to get into representational politics and I will hope that it’s because they see something different or perhaps even if it’s the same, something that they see as positive and that will give some kind of constructive value to how we shape our direction as a country.

“This is a blessed place, which can only move forward if we stop making the same mistakes. We have to start being very deliberate in our approach to developing our policies, guidelines and how we think about evidence, what’s before us. That’s what our prime minister is doing and that’s why I genuinely support him because he has shown the country a willingness to try something different, to try new methods of inspiring confidence, which has resulted in increased confidence in some areas,” Charles Jr said.

The now minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, who has specific responsibility for the portfolios of water, housing, and infrastructure, has been eyeing the Clarendon North Central seat held by Charles Sr since 1997.

But in recent months it appears likely that he would have one stumbling block in his quest to succeed his father in the seat, as 83-year-old Charles Sr, now speaker of the House of Representatives, has expressed an intention to retire from representational politics by the next election due in 2021, but widely expected to be held next year.

That obstacle is Robert Morgan, who operates out of the Office of the Prime Minister as parliamentary secretary. Morgan has been connecting the dots in the seat, which has so far led to subdued discord by both camps.

However, there were moves afoot to have Charles Jr focus on the Clarendon South East seat now held by state minister for national security, Ruddy Spencer, whom it was thought, was contemplating retirement.

But Spencer, a giant of the trade union movement, has given no clear word on chatter that he might not face electors again, having been in the seat since 2002.

If Spencer, who turns 76 next February, decides that he will not retire, then it would create a potential run-off between Charles Jr and Morgan for the Clarendon North Central seat.

“What’s unfortunate is that there has been a lot of information in the public domain which has confused a lot of persons,” Charles said in response to his interest in representing the people of Clarendon.

“I have never been asked for quotes from some of the persons I’ve seen put out articles and I have refrained from responding, because it is not my approach to discuss internal party issues in the public. I don’t intend to do so and I will use the party’s structure as a means to determine how I will move forward.

“The discussion has created a lot of energy. I get calls every morning, ‘come here, go there, don’t go there’, so people are excited and that’s good. People want a refreshing of the political regime and I am happy and excited about the prospect of being in representational politics. As to where I will be, that is up to God and to the discussions that we will have in the near future,” added Charles.

As to where his preference is now, and leaning would be, Charles Jr offered a straight-bat defence like a West Indies batsman of old with sound technique: “Where we are now, I am open to the discussions that we will have to have. Some discussions have started but I just think that the healthier and better approach for any political party when it comes to their internal wrangling must be to have those discussions at a desk, at your party headquarters or at some private place and come to some conclusion and then you can expose that to the public.”

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