Forty-two years, Por­tia? And it comes to this?

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Email feed­back to ob­serve­ or col­umns@glean­

“IREPRESENT ONE of the strong­est con­stituen­cies (St Andrew South West­ern) in Ja­maica; don’t play with me, I don’t play games. I work hard for this move­ment from 1974 ’til now, nuh boy, nuh gyal can’t talk to me ... I will come back here for an­other meet­ing and I know who I will bring,” said an ob­vi­ously un­set­tled Por­tia Simp­son Miller two Wed­nes­days ago.

Bear in mind that her un­em­bel­lished barbs were di­rected at her own PNP sup­port­ers in South East St Ann, as a few of them openly demon­strated that democ­racy didn’t need Por­tia’s per­sonal ap­proval as she crudely pit­ted her home-grown sup­port­ers in South West St Andrew against the more laid-back but proud peo­ple of St Ann.

Had she ran into a pocket of JLP sup­port­ers and was fac­ing off some boo­ing, we could have seen with her, even though it would have been best of her to just smile, blow off a few kisses and move on briskly.

It is well known in Ja­maica that the lead­ers of our political par­ties have been known to dis­play all of the in­se­cu­ri­ties of prize­fight­ers long past their prime in be­liev­ing that there is al­ways an­other last hur­rah in them.

Ed­die Seaga of the JLP did it, un­til his chal­lengers drew out the carpet from un­der his feet in the first half of the 2000s. Now it is most sad for many PNP sup­port­ers to see their beloved leader re­duced to ridicule. “Mark, you know me as PNP. I love my party, but that be­hav­iour from Por­tia was just dis­grace­ful. Dis­gust­ing,” said a 60-year-old Kingston woman friend of mine.

A man emailed me. ‘I ex­pect the JLP to win the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions eas­ily. Por­tia’s out­burst in South East­ern St Ann will keep many com­rades at home’.

It is more than likely that Por­tia’s in­abil­i­ties to deal with the smoul­der­ing prob­lems in Lisa Hanna’s ru­ral St Ann con­stituency and a lo­cal gov­ern­ment cam­paign in which the PNP finds it­self broke and out of power are prov­ing too much for her as time does to her what it will even­tu­ally do to those of us who live long enough and refuse to re­fresh our­selves on the air of hu­mil­ity.

On the other hand, af­ter she brushed aside the af­ter­thought of a chal­lenge from Karl Blythe re­cently, she may have seen in that easy vic­tory a con­ver­gence of her 42 years in pol­i­tics and en­ti­tle­ment and lashed out be­cause, well, 42 years.


The ap­proaches of the rul­ing JLP smacks of a party about to nail the PNP to a wall come Novem­ber 28. And the PNP, in not even be­ing able to raid a friend’s pig­gy­bank to pay for a spray-paint splash graf­fiti ad, is act­ing as if it is al­ready crucified..

Af­ter the re­sults are fully known on Novem­ber 29, we will have the added com­pi­la­tion of the ex­tent to which an ad cam­paign and nor­mal pol­i­tick­ing dif­fers from one where the only contact with the likely elec­torate is meet and greet as the PNP says is its only ap­proach.

The JLP is in the driver’s seat and it is do­ing what the PNP would have nor­mally done if it were in power. ‘Magic up’ $600 mil­lion bush­ing work, know­ing that next month is Christ­mas month, and en­sure that your own sup­port­ers get the bulk of the work.

Is the PNP wrong to crit­i­cise the work pro­gramme? Of course not. But at this time it is much too late for the PNP to get in on any of the work claims.

There is no co­her­ent mes­sag­ing com­ing from both the JLP and the PNP, but Por­tia’s re­cent im­plo­sion in South East St Ann is ex­actly what the grow­ing anti-Por­tia fac­tion in the PNP wants.

That fac­tion has all but given up on even go­ing through the mo­tions to en­sure a PNP win in its most vul­ner­a­ble di­vi­sions. It just wants too see Por­tia fur­ther dis­tanc­ing her­self from the PNP’s lead­er­ship val­ues, a JLP win and that trig­ger­ing the best shot of PNP re­newal.

To have the Political Om­buds­man, Donna Parch­ment-Brown, be the one to coax a na­tion­ally un­heard apol­ogy out of Por­tia, a woman like her­self, must have been quite painful. But, sad end­ings al­ways end like this.

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