Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Will gender victory be Portia's only legacy?

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It was Michael Moore, the noted left-leaning documentary film-maker and producer, who opined that the legacy of Barack Obama will be summed up in four sad words: the first black president.

This view emanated from the disenchantment Mr Obama now evokes among progressives within his Democratic Party. It is not an unfamiliar kind of disenchantment which now greets the recent announcement by Portia Simpson Miller that she will not be seeking another term at the helm of the 78-year-old political institution. Many will now be pondering, what will be her enduring legacy?

There can be no doubt that PSM has risen from the lowest of beginnings to occupy the highest of stations, and even more poignant is the fact that she has been Jamaica's first female head of government. Was she transformational? Did she shatter the glass ceiling only to succeed in littering the pathway of any future female aspirant with dangerous broken glass? Were her achievements primarily personal, or did Jamaica benefit from her leadership?

One suspects that in the days to come, many factors, including the colour of Kool-Aid imbibed, will play a part in the answering of these questions. One only hopes that her legacy, with respect to Jamaica, won't be easily summed up in four sad words: first female prime minister.

NOEL MATHERSON

noelmathrson@gmail.com