WHETHER it is term limits or age limits, veteran parliamentarian Peter Bunting desires a fresh approach to political governance in Jamaica.
“You need one of two things to ensure that you keep refreshing the pool of talent in Parliament,” he said in a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer. “Either you have term limits or age limits.
“I am not fixed to one or the other because I believe you can refresh a pool with someone who might have had a successful career in a profession or business, their kids are now grown, and at 55 or 60 they want to make a national contribution. They would be coming to the table with fresh ideas, fresh perspectives, and bringing a different sort of experience.
“Alternatively”, he continued, “you could have somebody there at age 55 who could have been in the system for 30 years and needs to be transitioned out and allow somebody else,” said the Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate and former long-standing Member of Parliament for Manchester Central.
Also a former minister of national security and now Opposition spokesman on Jamaica’s number one scourge — security — Bunting and his good friends Mark Golding, now leader of the Opposition, and Chris Dehring who, among other things, runs cable company Ready TV, operated the successful merchant Dehring, Bunting and Golding (DB&G) which was later sold to Scotiabank.
Politics, he hinted, allowed many to sit around, albeit elected by the people, and underperform either because of ability, or other limitations.
“Even in my private sector career I didn’t believe that I should have stayed in one position for long. When we sold DB&G I could have stayed as CEO. I was successful, and Scotia asked me to stay on as CEO, but I thought that for my own development and to create opportunities for those coming behind you, you should not stay in the same position for more than 10 years. You should always be refreshing the talent pool,” stated Bunting, who said he is undecided about his future in elective politics following the only loss of his career — to Jamaica Labour Party candidate Rhoda Moy Crawford in the September 2020 General Election.
He had won three consecutive times in Manchester Central from 2007, along with another triumph in Clarendon South Eastern, his first, over former Jamaica Prime Minister Hugh Lawson Shearer in the 1993 General Election.
The subject of age limits has not been debated as extensively as term limits in Jamaica. Prime Minister Andrew Holness mooted term limits for prime ministers when he first assumed office in 2011 but, save for a few occasions when the matter was mentioned, there has not been much said on it in recent months.