Tue | May 23, 2017

Portia’s claim of loving the poor meaningless

Published:Saturday | June 13, 2015 | 6:00 AMSusan Leslie-Bailey
Suzanne Leslie-Bailey
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is greeted by Bianca Chang, a student of the Jamaica House Basic School, during Read Across Jamaica Day on May 5. Guest columnist Suzanne Leslie-Bailey says the prime minister's much ballyhooed 'love for the poor' is meaningless.
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No other politician claims love for the people, specifically the poor, more than our prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller. The genuineness of Mrs Simpson Miller's public claims of concern for the poor, around which some people 'tippy-toe' and even avoid, is rarely questioned, as she is revered by the masses and viewed as an underdog,

However, I tread boldly, as I view that perspective to be the rhetoric of victimhood.

Portia Simpson Miller is the prime minister of Jamaica and the First Citizen. It is SHE who people should expect to be the first one to set a good example and it is to her we must look for accountability and transparency! There is no getting around that. The same would apply for Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness if he held the reins of government.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller should be made of sterner stuff, where criticism, whether constructive or otherwise, does not upset her to the point where she appears churlish and overly defensive.

The very few times that the media have managed to catch the prime minister and pose questions to her (which she cannot answer), she goes into the 'love for the people' routine, which involves some utterance about concern for the plight of the Jamaican people, coupled with the placing of her hand over her heart, for good effect.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller, if you love the poor, why is the health sector in a downright disgraceful state and in a state of near-national emergency? There is a shortage of critical hospital supplies and equipment.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller, if you love the poor, why is the police force not adequately equipped with the critical tools needed rising crime? Too many valuable lives, including those of our children, are being lost!

 

No care for children

 

Prime Minister Simpson Miller, if you love the poor, why has there been no display of urgency on the part of the Government you lead to roll out an effective national plan, involving all stakeholders, to address the crisis facing our children? Our children are being murdered! Your vague platitudes are just not enough!

Prime Minister Simpson Miller, if you love the poor, why has there been such an exorbitant increase in passport fees?

Prime Minister Simpson Miller, if you love the poor, why did you allow the National Housing Trust (NHT) board to act inappropriately and squander almost J$300 million of Trust funds in order to purchase Outameni Experience - a failed tourist attraction - in order to bail out Lennie Little-White, instead of providing homes for hard-working contributors?

Prime Minister Simpson Miller, if you love the poor, why have you allowed corruption and cronyism to run rampant within, and become a feature of, your government and party? This has led to the wanton waste of resources, which has stymied the growth and development of our people and country!

Don't be fooled by sweet nothings. Be reminded that Judas did kiss Jesus!

- Suzanne Leslie-Bailey is JLP deputy spokesperson on foreign affairs and foreign trade. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and svclb@msn.com.