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Former Police chief Smith to run as PLP candidate

Former Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith was yesterday named as a PLP candidate in the next General Election.

The announcement that he would fight Constituency 28, Warwick West, was made by Premier Paula Cox, at a press conference at Alaska Hall.

Mr Smith lost a bid to represent the Progressive Labour Party in Constituency 21, Pembroke South East, to Rolfe Commissiong in September.

He is the third candidate to the rolled out - earlier this week former Belco boss Vince Ingham was unveiled as a PLP candidate and last week former Chamber of Commerce president Stephen Todd was also selected as a candidate.

Premier Paula Cox introduced him as “a man of demonstrable leadership capability, a man of integrity, a team player and a hard worker, a man known for his public service and record of getting things done”.

In a statement at a press conference yesterday, Mr Smith said: "Today is a day to give thanks for the opportunity to serve the residents of Warwick West.

"I attended school in Warwick. My family church is in Warwick. I was married in Warwick. My three sons were christened in Warwick and close members of my family are buried in Warwick. I have lived in Warwick previously, so this is a constituency with which I am familiar. I look forward to meeting the voters and residents and meeting your aspirations for a Bermuda we can be proud of.

"Today represents a big step forward in public service. I am excited to take that step as a Parliamentary candidate in service to my people and my country.

"Public service has been a big part of my life. As Commissioner, I experienced what it is like to have 60,000 residents demanding results. I will not shy away from those lessons or that responsibility. Therein is a lesson in public service.

"Public service taught me to listen; lead; set standards and to get results demanded by the public.

"That's the candidate who is before you today. The Country comes first; the people in Bermuda come first. Everything else; everything else – is a distant second as far as I am concerned.

"I acknowledge that my journey from Ord Road to the Progressive Labour Party has been different and some might say, unconventional. But, each of us has a story and it is the vast collection of those stories, those experiences, those aspirations that form the heart and soul of any Party, any Government, any country.

"Those stories from our young supporters, our wise and able veterans, and our new members who joined the Party just this week are bringing change, new ideas and new strategies to the work of governing.

"As we all look forward to the road ahead, let me pause, just for a moment, to honour those who paved the road behind us. We are surrounded today by portraits of great Bermudians who sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for things that many Bermudians now take for granted. Just to be respected.

"The right to sit in a seat of choice in a cinema. The right simply to vote. Their place as Bermudians – equal in ALL respects - to walk and work on Bermuda soil. Yes, I am in their shadow – but the journey is not done.

Today is not a day to dwell on the past – but to look to the future.

"As I continue to meet the voters, I'll convey another learning point from my years in public service. It is the adage captured on bumper stickers abroad; that pointed reminder to ALL politicians: “YOU WORK FOR US.” I take that same fundamental belief into politics: the people come first.

"As I offer myself as a candidate, I'll share with you my track record of getting things done in the public service and now in the private sector; an ability to listen; an ability to lead; an ability to work with the community in setting priorities.

"Much has been said about the difficulties we are in. There's little need for me to expand on that. You've heard of the Throne Speech initiatives and the priorities of this Government to grow our economy, increase job training, grow jobs. I offer myself as a candidate and give the assurance that the voters' concerns and aspirations come first in our journey together to build the Bermuda for our children.

"As we look out on the political landscape and the challenges we face now and will face in the future, I believe the voters will take a long and hard look at their candidates and decide: who can get things done? Who has the experience in working with the people? Who can best represent their interests and who can be trusted?

"Any election is about the future. It's also about which candidates the voter can put their trust, hopes and confidence in and separating those who talk from those who deliver. A tall task you might say? It needs to be.

"As politicians we must operate on the fundamental premise that the voters needs must come first.

As I wrap up my brief comments, I'll borrow a line from the Throne Speech, and say: “ …every citizen from every walk of life is called upon to work together, recognizing that each has a role to play, each can contribute to the greater good of the community.” (END OF QUOTE).

"In that one sentence is a rallying call for every Bermudian. And in that one sentence I have responded to the call from my fellow Bermudians, this Party, our Premier to “get involved;” to work together and contribute to this great country.

"I'd like to conclude on a personal note. After all, politics is personal. Although I was encouraged by many to get involved in politics, I attribute a good part of my inspiration to a man I never knew. My paternal grand-father, about whom I have recently written a book, was a man who put his country and the fight for freedom first – above the love of his wife and five children. He was killed in action and is buried thousands of miles from here. While I will only be a shadow of the man he might have become, it is his courage, his commitment and his sense of service that has been a source of inspiration for me."

Senator Jonathan Smith, flanked by Premier Paula Cox, will stand as a candidate for the PLP in the next General Election.

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Published November 18, 2011 at 6:00 am (Updated November 17, 2011 at 10:09 am)

Former Police chief Smith to run as PLP candidate

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