Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Floyd Morris | Angela: Portia’s choice, the people’s choice, the right choice

Published:Sunday | July 30, 2017 | 7:00 AM
Angela Brown-Burke making her way to the PNP press conference and Code of Conduct signing on today’s selection contest.
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Comrade Senator Dr Angela Brown Burke has asked me to be one of her media liaisons and I have happily accepted. I have accepted because I believe in Angela and that she has a meaningful contribution to make to the politics of Jamaica.

Born in humble circumstance in St Thomas and growing up downtown Kingston, Angela, like me, used a tool that God has given to everyone, education, to empower herself and, by extension, others.

From Wolmer's Girls' School to university in Cuba, on a scholarship from the PNP Women's Movement in 1979, she equipped herself with skills for her personal development and moved to use these skills to empower others when she became the councillor for the Norman Gardens division.

As if this was not enough, she went back to university in Chicago to pursue and complete a doctorate in adult education and literacy.

As one who has an unapologetic belief in the principles of democratic socialism, Angela has used the vehicle of the PNP to advocate for the greater development and empowerment of others.

For her, and like me, the PNP is the best political organisation in Latin America and the Caribbean. The PNP is not perfect, because it is an institution made up of human beings, and humans are subject to making mistakes. However, the PNP has been at the forefront of every progressive change in Jamaica since its formation in 1938.

Social justice and the drive to create a society where there is equal opportunity for all has been the mission of the PNP, and this has found favour with Dr Angela Brown Burke. This is why she has been a member of the organisation since the 1970s and has risen to the rank of vice-president of the movement, following in the footsteps of the great Portia Simpson Miller, the first female vice-president and president of the PNP.

 

Strongly support move

 

This is why Portia Simpson Miller has endorsed Angela as her successor, and I strongly support the move.

South West St Andrew was built as a PNP citadel by Portia Simpson Miller. When she went into the constituency in 1974, it was a safe haven for the JLP. She single-handedly built it for the PNP and this constituency ranks number one on the national political grid for the PNP.

This is why over the years, Portia Simpson Miller was able to leave SW St Andrew and go to other constituencies to give support during election time. The person who takes over the leadership of this citadel must therefore be able to give support to the PNP in its quest to regain state power. It is my firm belief that vice-president Angela Brown Burke is best able to do this.

Each member of parliament is allocated a mere $20 million for their constituency each year from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

This is woefully inadequate to deal with the multiplicity of needs that confronts them in their constituency on a daily basis. The MP who is best able to negotiate and network is likely to get more resources for his/her constituency.

Dr Angela Brown Burke, being vice-president of the PNP and one who was mayor of Kingston and a senator, has the experience and network to leverage resources to continue on the work of Portia Simpson Miller.

At the end of the day, it is all about developing the constituency and constituents and the one to lead the charge must be able to exert influence and secure resources for the constituency.

I want to state for the record, I have nothing personal against Comrade Audrey Smith Facey. She has never done or said anything to me that I regard as disrespectful. For me, she is a Comrade in good standing.

However, based on what I have seen of Dr Angela Brown Burke in the Senate, the executive committee of the PNP, the NEC of the PNP and her administrative skills, I believe that she is the best person to succeed Portia Simpson Miller in SW St Andrew.

Editor's Note: Audrey Smith Facey's Campaign Team was also invited to make a submission on why delegates should vote for her in today's selection but failed to take up the offer.