PNP in transition - In Portia's own words
The following is an excerpt from the presentation made by People's National Party President Portia Simpson Miller to yesterday's sitting of the party's National Executive Council at Cedar Grove Academy in Portmore, St Catherine:
Comrades, I have been in politics for many years, and I have been assessing my future as leader of my beloved People's National Party (PNP).
I have been reflecting on what the past 10 years have meant and mean.
It has been quite a journey. Opposition, a landslide victory, a four-year period of some of the most fundamental strides to set the Jamaican economy on the right track, and in Opposition by the slimmest margin ever.
What a decade in which we have held together through some very stormy seas.
Earlier this year, I signalled to the party that I wanted to see us through the local government elections.
There was a reason for that.
I never wanted a new leader of this movement to commence their term with an election loss, which we expected in the local government elections.
I wanted to give that person a clean slate on which to build.
I have given over 40 years of selfless and dedicated service to this great party and country.
I am proud of, and happy about, the strong endorsement given to me by the delegates of the party in September.
To receive 93 per cent of the votes is, indeed, an overwhelming endorsement.
However, there comes a time when one must assess their political future.
Today, I am indicating to the party that I will not offer myself for re-election as president of this noble movement for the next political year in September.
I want the transition to a new leader to be seamless.
I will work with the officers of the party to establish clear guidelines and a period for campaigning.
There will be sanctions and a ban on public advertisements.
Any action by candidates and their supporters to tarnish other Comrades or bring the party into disrepute will be met with sanctions.
Those who want leadership must remember that the PNP is bigger than all of us.
If we cannot put the party before personal ambitions, we do not deserve to lead this movement.
I will do everything I can in the time I have left as leader of this party to reconnect with the Jamaican people and to influence the return to power of the PNP.
I encourage each member of this NEC to make reconnecting with the people your primary political focus as we enter this transitional but exciting phase.
Comrades, let us resolve today to do our best to unite the party and build bonds that will never be broken by pettiness and personal ambitions.