Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Ronald Mason | Time for Portia to go

Published:Sunday | September 4, 2016 | 9:00 AM

The People's National Party (PNP) is in crisis; however it is not terminally ill. The party is celebrating 78 years of existence. That's 78 years of history and service to Jamaica and a solid record of achievement. It has infrastructure and procedures developed and strengthened in the crucible of time, success and failure. All systems will not crumble overnight. The party's contribution which has been amended multiple times over the years, still provides the framework for continued valuable contributions to this country.

Some damming allegations have surfaced. These allegations bear within them the ability to challenge the fundamental principles and objectives of the party. The personnel who have surfaced as alleged main players by actual response and 'suss' do not all have unimpeachable characters. When the innuendos are left to hang in the air by those who do not possess the fortitude to offer anything which could enhance credibility, one must wonder what is this all about? The election was held on the 25th of February, 2016. This most recent allegation burst into the public consciousness six months later.

 

Leadership vacuum

 

Of the two alleged principal players from within the party, one plays games with trite, stupid responses. The other has made known his willingness to name persons and thus provide better particulars. This cannot be seen in any other light than the fact that there is a leadership vacuum within the party, at this time. The present leader does not signal a willingness to be proactive, hold people accountable, stop the internal rot, determine whether internal or external resources are to be deployed. The appalling cry by Portia Simpson Miller that she knows nothing of this incident, when recently asked, shows that she is unable to lead. She must be on top of it now, if she is capable, rather than pass it off for a report to be made in October, after the party's annual conference. This is complete and utter rubbish. At least the credibility of the allegations must be determined prior to the party's conference. If not, the party conference, already having a leadership challenge will deteriorate to whisper mongering and character assassinations. Act now, Portia Simpson Miller. Leaders do not sit and wait and hide behind others.

 

End-stage incompetence

 

The leader of the PNP seems to be exhibiting end-stage incompetence. She has served the PNP in an elected capacity since 1974. She has evidenced personal development, but her progression should never have been awarded top leadership, based on competence. However, she became leader. Let us conduct a little test. Refresh memories with any legislative proposal, piloted by her through parliament which has the imprint of being her contribution to national development. Where are her fingerprints on any legislation since she was elected to parliament? If you cannot provide this information then refresh the memory with any structural reform formulated, proposed and implemented to advance the party to which she is affiliated. It is noteworthy that for the majority of her cabinet service, she was responsible for the sports portfolio. Fortunately, today the sports portfolio requires a higher level of acumen.

 

Side show has run its course

 

The era of her being the featured comic relief in an electoral campaign has run its course. The side show has given way to the need for competence. Some personal ability to grasp the complexities of the nation's fiscal, monetary, sociological and educational challenges are bare necessities. Telling a country "that is why I have ministers" is not good enough. The level of reasoning that could generate responses such as those which are credited to her indicates that it is time for her to go. Those close to her must engage her in a discussion as to how history will treat her period of leadership. Will she get a sentence or a paragraph in recorded history? She has not justified a chapter. She will lead the party to losing the next local government elections. Simpson Miller needs to exit forthwith. The country needs a new leader of the PNP. The party immediately needs to purge itself of those who continue to bring it down. Have the officers of the party become toothless wimps? There must always be a viable opposition. Delay will be met with devastating results going forward. The current crisis will just be a precursor of things to come.

- Ronald Mason is an attorney-at-law and Supreme Court mediator. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and nationsagenda@gmail.com.