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‘Portia is my friend’ - Angela pledges loyalty to PNP president

Published:Sunday | August 14, 2016 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
In this 2010 photo, Angela Brown Burke (right) celebrates her birthday while dancing up a storm with her friend Portia Simpson Miller.

People's National Party (PNP) incumbent vice-president, Angela Brown Burke, who is seeking re-election to the post come September, has declared her undying loyalty to the party's president, Portia Simpson Miller.

Brown Burke, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner last week, said she has tremendous respect for the PNP leader who is a personal friend.

"Absolutely, definitely, she always has a friend in me," declared Brown Burke.

"I admire Portia Simpson Miller for what I believe she has been in the party. She is a living example of what someone can become in a major political party in a country where the political process is dominated by women at the organisational level, but which has selected men to be its leaders since its existence.

"I admire her for the role she has played when the party needed someone of valour, someone who can stand up and take beatings," said Brown Burke.

"Portia Simpson Miller is someone who inspires Comrades. I have seen her in action. I have been with her overseas, seen her in discussion with leaders. And I admire her for the contribution she has made and the leadership she has provided," added Brown Burke.

She said as a friend she has always told Simpson Miller the truth, and the party leader has appreciated this.

NEVER BEEN AFRAID

"I have never been afraid to tell her the truth. I have learnt, however, that because individuals see in me a friend of Portia Simpson Miller, I have to be careful in even how I articulate that, and when and where I do that."

According to Brown Burke, there have been times when she has expressed an opinion in particular settings and individuals have used those opinions to make incorrect inferences.

"And I do not want to be one of those that individuals are going to use against her, and so my choice has always been to talk to her privately," said Brown Burke.

She said she does not believe she has to make a grandstand about her relationship with the party leader, beat her chest or publicly chastise the leader to please individuals who feel that should be done.

"I have told her in the past. Sometimes she agrees with me, sometimes she doesn't. But that also again is the prerogative of leadership. I can only tell you what I think. I can only tell you how I see it and why I see it the way I do. And I will always do that," said Brown Burke, who is asking delegates to retain her as PNP vice-president on Saturday, September 17.