ELECTION WATCH: Attorney Marsha Smith gets JLP nod for NE St Ann
Attorney Marsha Smith is the new Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) caretaker/candidate for the North East St Ann constituency.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness toured sections of the constituency on Wednesday and officially endorsed and introduced Smith as the new representative to constituents.
The attorney-at-law has replaced Shahine Robinson as the JLP’s candidate for the constituency in the upcoming general elections, which are constitutionally due next year, but are expected to be held very late this month or early in September.
Robinson, who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency for 19 years, died on May 29 after a battle with cancer.
A private funeral service was held for her last month, and the Government has promised to have an official funeral service for the late Cabinet Minister at a later date.
Smith was in July given permission by the JLP to seek the support of the constituents and the party executive of North East St Ann in a bid to represent the party in the seat.
The executive of the constituency has since given its full backing to the attorney.
Speaking at the Steer Town Community Centre in the parish on Wednesday, Holness reflected on Robinson's contribution to the seat, and described her as having been an excellent representative.
"You had an excellent representative in Shahine Robinson. I feel her presence right here on stage with me," Holness said, adding that "You not gonna get another lady like that. A woman with a heart and soul for the people."
The late Shahine Robinson
Holness said the party has found another candidate in the form of Smith, who has similar characteristics as Robinson.
"... but life goes on. We move to another leg of the race, and someone else has to take on the mantle. And you want someone who has similar characteristic as someone who ran the race before; someone who has the stamina, who can make the strides; someone who has the heart and soul for the people; someone who is articulate and can communicate with the people," Holness declared.
He continued: "Someone who is patient and who can understand and wait on the people to come to an understanding. Someone who is loving...
"We think we have found such a candidate in Marsha Smith. We think we have found someone who can take the baton and run the race on your behalf," Holness further assured.
For her part, Smith said she is ready to serve the people.
"What I want to tell you all is that I am here ready and willing to serve you the people of North East St Ann," she told the cheering JLP supporters.
The attorney went on to describe the late Shahine Robinson as a phenomenal woman, and assured the constituents that she is going to continue the late MP’s legacy.
"We are going to use the legacy that she has been left behind and build on it because that is the best way we can honour her memory... and we are gonna work together as a team because teamwork is dream work."
Along with being an attorney, Smith is the Chairman of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) and she worked closely with Robinson when the latter was the Minister of Labour and Social Security.
It is not clear if Smith still occupies the positions of Chairman and member of the IDT.
Meanwhile, the attorney is the daughter of veteran St Ann lawyer, Ernest Smith. The elder Smith is a former parliamentarian for South West St Ann, having won the seat for the JLP in the 2002 and 2007 general elections.
However, his success in the seat ended in the 2011 General Elections, when he was defeated by Keith Walford of the People's National Party (PNP).