Samuda keeps them guessing
Cheeky 83-year-old not yet ready to rule out contesting the next general election despite walking away from the Cabinet
SAMUDA... I want to hang up my belt and retire peacefully on my farm and enjoy what I love doing.

IN recent weeks there have been several names being called as possible replacements for Karl Samuda on the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) ticket in St Andrew North Central in the next general election.

But it is clear that anyone who wants to replace him will have to get his endorsement, and he is not confirming that he is leaving until he is satisfied with his replacement.

In a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer, Samuda made it clear that he is determined to do what is in the best interest of the people of the constituency who have stood with him for more than 40 years.

They were with him when he first tasted victory in a general election in 1980 on a JLP ticket. They stayed with him when he switched to the People's National Party (PNP) in 1993 and ensured that victory, and their backing remained when he contested the 1997 election back on a JLP ticket.

Now in the twilight of his political career, Samuda said the people are forefront in his consideration, as he contemplates another rodeo.

After 10 consecutive victories, Samuda, now 83, is not saying yet if he will be back on the ballot in the next general election due in 2025, but he is adamant that any decision he makes will take into account what is best for the people and his beloved party.

"I want to hang up my belt and retire peacefully on my farm and enjoy what I love doing, that is breeding thoroughbred horses, and if I get the opportunity on Saturdays and Sundays to watch the racing that I love," Samuda told the Sunday Observer during the recent interview at his sprawling farm in a valley in St Catherine.

"Most important are the people and the party that I have been associated with for most of my life. After all, I have been in the House for 43 years. I will do everything in my power to make the JLP win and Andrew Holness remain as prime minister and the party moves on from there," declared Samuda who refused to be drawn on a possible replacement if he finally decides to walk away.

"I don't want to make any commitments about anybody to replace me at this time," said Samuda with a cheeky smile as he ignored questions about the names of some of those tipped to replace him.

"I am a Member of Parliament who has committed himself to serving the people and improving their quality of life," declared Samuda in a clear hint of the quality he will be looking for in anyone he would endorse.

He pointed out that in a short while Mike Henry, the Clarendon Central MP and himself, will achieve the milestone as the longest-serving Member of Parliament in the region and argued that this was possible because of their commitment to the people in their constituencies, no matter their political views.

"We are 43 years now and we will surpass Mr Seaga [former Prime Minister Edward Seaga] who now holds the record in the history of elected representation in this area," said Samuda with a satisfied smile.

BY ARTHUR HALL Editor-at-Large

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