Tue | Sep 19, 2017

George Davis | Embrace that orange sunset, Portia

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Portia Simpson Miller hugs a child at the PNP's 74th annual conference in 2012. Despite calls for her to quit, Simpson Miller has dug in her heels.

Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller should go. Simple as that. It's not a point built on disrespect for the good lady or dislike of her as a political figure. The desire to see her vacate the chair as People's National Party president and opposition leader is borne out of a need to see her maintain her dignity and avoid the verbal faeces that will be slung her way by those paid or inspired by aspirants to her job in the build-up to the party's annual conference in September.

Love her or loathe her, Portia does not deserve to be 'classed' and styled like a force-ripe 'gyal' by those intent on prying her fingers from the wheel of Team PNP. You would have to own a hard, cruel heart to want to see this daughter of the soil ripped to pieces by those who believe they have waited long enough to stake their claim for the right to lead Manley's party.

Portia loves a fight; she lives for battle. That clip of her played by the JLP to devastating effect in the 2007 election campaign and used with disastrous consequences in the 2011 hustings, where she spoke about not being afraid of 'no man, no gyal', etc, was quintessential Portia. No, not the virago, but the warrior, unafraid of any challenge and daring those who would oppose her to step out and get it on.

Many in the PNP were embarrassed about how that clip portrayed her. Not Portia. She sent a message that day, reminding those who were getting brave with their criticisms of her performance that she was no light post that you could just come and throw a wire on and immediately get electricity in your house. In the words of Chris Martin, Portia used that opportunity to remind the critics that she was a big deal.

 

STILL DAZED

 

So the fighter in Portia wants to continue. She doesn't want to leave the PNP as the Opposition party, still dazed and confused after the events of February 25 in which the so-called apprentice, Andrew Holness, mastered the course and delivered the JLP to victory.

Portia clearly doesn't want to move aside for Peter Bunting to come through and assume the big orange chair. Some Comrades believe that while Bunting has put a lot of sweat into the PNP over time, he has yet to shed any blood towards advancing the party's interest. Unlike, say, Peter Phillips, who has given a lifetime to the party, complete with several pints of blood, sweat and tears.

Nor, for that matter, does Portia want to allow Lisa Hanna to engineer the successful election of the next PNP president. Not after the hot words that Lisa has dropped. To make matters worse, many Jamaicans have found favour with Hanna's charge for the tree to be shaken and for her suggestion that the old oranges, Seville and ortanique, be swept up and dumped in the cow pasture.

So the fighter inside Portia does not want to effectively be booted from the party, prodded out by owners of forked tongues who say she must be allowed to set her own departure agenda, but use the other prong to say and write things that expose the fact that they are busy issuing her a one-way ticket to Never-never land.

Notwithstanding the shocking level of crime now bedevilling western Jamaica, it's fair to say that Holness and his team have not yet started to 'mash' up the country to serve as a catalysing point for the PNP, its leader and those Comrades who sleep by day and are busy digging her grave by night.

Portia is facing uncertainty every day as she digs in for another term as party president. For what, though? Jamaica's first woman prime minister? Twice prime minister? Wealthy enough to live in comfort? Enough capital within the PNP to serve as first-ever elder stateswoman?

Mama, you have been there and done it. You have achieved what many are now aspiring for. There's no way you will not get damaged if you allow them free shots at your head as you wear the PNP crown. Lef it gi dem!

Selah.

- George Davis is a broadcast executive producer and talk-show host. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.