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PNP Women ready to tackle Portia

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding

After being absent from Sunday's meeting of the People's National Party (PNP) National Executive Council (NEC), Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is today expected to face one of the sternest tests of her political career.

As she makes her contribution to the 2015-2016 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, this time around it is not the members of the parliamentary opposition with whom Simpson Miller will have to contend, but some of her staunchest supporters - members of the PNP Women's Movement of which she is a past president.

Protesting since last week, when the movement's president, Jennifer Edwards, was removed as executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), the members have vowed to have her reinstated.

Ashley booed

During yesterday's meeting of the NEC, the women embraced Edwards even as they booed NSWMA Chairman Steve Ashley. Both are loyalists of Simpson Miller.

At the meeting of the PNP's most powerful body after its annual conference, members were told that Simpson Miller was in the process of completing her Budget presentation.

In her absence, members erected a tent in support of their president at the Mount St Joseph Preparatory School in Manchester, where the meeting was held.

"While the NEC was going on, the mostly female Comrades camped out under the tent and I am telling you it was fun ... drama but nuff passion," said Women's Movement member Dorothy Buchanan in a Facebook post.

Later, Buchanan, widow of late PNP stalwart Donald Buchanan, told The Gleaner that as an active member of the Women's Movement, she was troubled by the treatment meted out to Edwards.

"If it were the intention of the board not to renew her contract, the post should have been advertised at least three months prior to the expiration of the contract so that there is a smooth transition," said Buchanan.

She contended that under Edwards or anyone else, unless property taxes are paid and equipment provided, there would be inadequate funding of the operations of the NSWMA.

"I hold no brief for Miss Edwards, but I blame her for not exposing what was happening although I am fully aware that she is a team player," asserted Buchanan.