“I have decided when this term is over, I will not be running for office.”
That’s according to former Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Hood in an interview with The New Today newspaper when asked about his political future. He said that a lot of “stuff” has led to his decision and that those “stuff” has led him to become disillusioned. “I don’t think I want to be a part of that going forward”, he said.
Hood’s admittance to back out of politics comes two months after he tendered his resignation to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led administration under the leadership of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas. In a press conference to announce his resignation in May the former senior cabinet minister claimed the situation within the Congress has become untenable and unbearable for him, and therefore, felt it was necessary for him to walk away.
The former government minister said that under the Congress Leader he was not allowed to serve as he could, and therefore, was made to look incompetent and inert, so much so that he was dubbed a non-performer by the media. He said that his constituency suffered because the State apparatus was not at his disposal to meet their legitimate needs and that his initiatives in government were also stifled leaving him with no way to turn.
In his letter to the Prime Minister Hood writes: “The present situation, instigated by your Assistant which has brought about the introduction of Mr. (Randall) Robinson cannot be accepted. This final affront has led me to believe that you have no further use for me in the final construct of your team”. Robinson is known to have expressed interest in doing political work for Congress in Hood’s constituency.
The St. George’s South East MP said from the time he entered government in 2008, he and his personal assistant, Ralph Lord conducted an assessment of the things needed to be done in the constituency and the Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Works advised them on what needed to be done.
He said from since 2008 he has been pleading for help on a broken road in Confer to be repaired and to date it remains unattended. “I have said repeatedly in Cabinet, that as an elected Member, I should not be begging, we should be sharing together, we should be working together, we should be supporting each other, and I should not be begging, but even through all my begging the people of South East St. George were not served in the way that they should be served,” he told reporters.
Hood said he has turned himself into a sacrificial lamb to the National Democratic Congress, but is not looking “for something.” “I am not staying or going because of anything. My conscience would not allow me to continue within that construct,” he added.
Hood was the only Government Minister sitting in his chair, who abstained from voting in the no confidence motion that was brought against Prime Minister Thomas by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell in May. He told the media he did so for two basic reasons – he felt it was not “in my (his) place” to give a victory to the opposition at this time”, and that his conscience would not allow him to say the things that were said in the motion was false, and that he has confidence in the leadership of the country.
The South East M.P. said that while he have no regrets getting into politics and seeing politics from another angle, he is much more informed and wiser.
“I appreciate the fact that I was able to at least begin a process of helping people, I’m just kind of sorry that it turned out the way it is, the things that we fought for, campaigned for, seem to have all evaporated into the sea of selfishness and personal agendas. I’m kind of sorry that it happened that way but I have no regrets”, he said.
Hood said he remains involved in his constituency and is presently undertaking three projects without Government’s funding or assistance. He said that he is gainfully employed working on the projects -an extension of the Morne Jaloux R.C School to facilitate a computer lab which is near completion; refurbishing of the playing field and building a club house; and a children’s playground at the community centre in St Paul’s.
“Where I go from that, I’m still looking at options”. Hood walked away from his position as a Minister of the Gospel at the Peoples’ Church, St Paul’s, in 2008 to become a candidate in the General Elections in which he defeated the parliamentary representative for the New National Party (NNP), Gregory Bowen.
His decision to become involved in frontline politics was met with a level of discomfort amongst his congregation, however he said it was his “calling” and that he needed to fulfill it. When asked if he will return to being a pastor, Hood said, “It is left to be seen”.
“The bad thing about politics is that it seem to have a way of damaging you very much and persons take liberty in saying things that they don’t even know, I guess that’s the nature of the political beast; that people will try to blacken you as much as they can to gain some kind of prominence, though a lot of it, I’m not bothered by, but it has posed a problem … I won’t pretend it hasn’t, It has posed a problem which I have to deal with, I think I’m big enough to deal with it and I’m bold enough to deal with it and see what happens going forward”.
This was Hood’s second political stint; in 1990 he was unsuccessful in his bid to win the St George North-West seat for the NDC against the then sitting Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.