'A hard act to follow'

Former PNP MP for St Mary South Eastern says it will be difficult to replace late MP

Monday, August 21, 2017

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FORMER People's National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament for St Mary South Eastern Harry Douglas has surmised that the next Member of Parliament for the constituency, left vacant by the sudden death of Dr Winston Green, has “a hard act to follow”.

Green, the only other PNP Member of Parliament to have served the constituency, collapsed last Monday at his St Andrew home and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. He was 58.

“It is a hard act to follow, but there is always good, better, best. It is going to take some time for whoever takes over as the next PNP MP. That person will have to just get out there, do the work and keep the constituency united,” Douglas, who served as MP from 1989-2007, told the Jamaica Observer North & East last Tuesday.

He described the late MP as a people person, kind-hearted and selfless.

“Before he became Member of Parliament he operated his dental practice in Annotto Bay. He was very, very kind-hearted. It wasn't about the money that he was making, but the service that he offered to his fellow Jamaicans and he took that into his political life,” Douglas noted.

He shared that Green, shortly before his death, had sponsored two students who are now studying dentistry abroad. The two only recently came home on summer break and were employed as interns at Green's practice in the parish.

“…He is one you could easily speak to. You may not have got a 'yes' at the same time, but it's never a no. If he promised, he would deliver.

“Being a part of the system, I can say that he was a very good Member of Parliament. There are a number of basic schools and centres that he has built up. He has got schools repaired; he has provided computers and he has contributed to education in the constituency tremendously,” Douglas said, while expressing condolences to Green's family.

He theorised that the constituency will need a “down to earth person” to represent them.

Pointing out that it is a constituency made up of mostly farmers and working-class people, he stressed that the next Member of Parliament must be able to fit into that plan.

“…You have to gel with everybody because you also have the upper class as well, though not very much are in the constituency. You have to be a part of the several churches. In my time there was a certain denomination with most of the supporters; you have to hold that together. But if five per cent is from somewhere else, you have to be part and parcel. In other words, you have to be for everybody. You don't want to specialise in any particular set or class. You want to work for everybody and you want to make people feel comfortable and at home,” Douglas shared.

He was not prepared, however, to state his pick for what has become a crucial seat.

“We are a democratic party. I smile sometimes when I hear people say things. The PNP uses its delegates and its members like all parties do to select their candidate. You will hear, 'I don't want a Baptist minister because I'm an Anglican'. People will tell you who they want, but invite them to join the party, invite them to join the rough and tough of the work that you have to do — will they? It's not an easy job being the people's representative because everybody wants something; everybody looks forward to what they can get.

“It's a consultative process. I not sure if I'm a recognised constituent. I have retired and I am staying far in the background. I do have a vote, not in the selection of the candidate, but I'll make my voice heard if it's necessary.

“You're going to be hearing who people want and who people don't want when they don't even have a vote for the PNP or the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party). It's very interesting and there are some interesting times ahead,” Douglas told North & East.




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