Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Blythe no longer wants to debate Simpson Miller ... says he's 'sparing her dignity'

Published:Friday | September 2, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Seen smiling here in this September 16, 2010, photo, Karl Blythe and Portia Simpson Miller will now face off for the presidency of the People’s National Party this month.

Dr Karl Blythe, who is seeking to unseat Portia Simpson Miller as president of the People's National Party (PNP), has withdrawn a request to debate her for the presidency, saying recent TV interviews show that she's "unwell".

"From both as a layman and as a medical person, observing her in the interviews attempting to answer, and the answers she gave, placed me in a position where as a medical doctor, I would say she is not well," Blythe said. The tone of the voice ... the eyes, the way you appear not to be in your surroundings even though you are there," he said yesterday in an interview on Nationwide News Network.

According to Blythe, he now "understands" why Simpson Miller did not participate in the national political debates ahead of the February 25 general election.

Now, Blythe, who was pushing for a debate with Simpson Miller, says he no longer wants to participate because "I will never destroy the dignity of a Comrade who has served our party to the best of her ability".

Simpson Miller gave the two television interviews this week amid the campaign donations scandal rocking the 78-year-old party.




Meanwhile, Blythe is urging the PNP president to get rid of her handlers, "who seek to expose her for their personal aggrandisement".

As an example, he pointed to Simpson Miller's aide, Sandrea Falconer, and her interventions in Simpson Miller's interview on Television Jamaica, aired on Wednesday.

"These persons, they have never been subjected to the delegates of the party, they have never been subjected to a vote for a position they hold, and yet they tend to be dictating to the leader of the Opposition how to answer, when to answer, and what not to answer," he said.

"I can only assume, therefore, it is to keep themselves in the positions which they now occupy."

Last night, in reaction to Blythe, Falconer told The Gleaner: "I have no comment on the matter."

Blythe has called for Simpson Miller to go and allow for 'renewal', following the party's election loss, and more recently, arising from the alleged misappropriation of money donated to the party by senior members.

Blythe, who lost a past bid to be president, is a former housing minister who resigned in 2002 over the Operation PRIDE housing scandal.