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Comrade Saphire Longmore? - Former beauty queen mulls return to politics, but says it might not be for the JLP this time around

Published:Sunday | May 10, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding

Former beauty queen, Dr Saphire Longmore, who raised eyebrows by her sudden entry into the political arena nearly four years ago, has not ruled out another shot at representational politics.

But the consultant psychiatrist may not necessarily make her second run on a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) ticket.

The 2008 Miss Jamaica Universe has also vowed not take a second blind plunge in the political pit as she did as a greenhorn in 2011.

"I would hope to get involved earlier," she said. "Meet and spend time with the people I hope to represent. That was how I had wanted to enter politics in the first place. The circumstances back then did not allow such ... who knows what may exist again in the future and what may be required," said Longmore, who the JLP parachuted into Eastern St Andrew at the 11th-hour to replace then Member of Parliament, Dr St Aubyn Bartlett.

Longmore was defeated by the People's National Party's (PNP) AndrÈ Hylton by less than 300 votes, despite her late entry into the constituency.

Last week, Longmore told The Sunday Gleaner that although she ran on the JLP ticket then, she is no labourite. "I know I am perceived as being a labourite, but I am not," asserted Longmore.

"I have the desire to be a part of a process that enables the improvement of people's lives, and especially that of my own countrymen," declared Longmore who, over the years, has served the University Hospital of the West Indies, Kingston Public Hospital, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the University of the West Indies.


the bigger picture


"Many things are wrong in our society, and I think I could be very effective in contributing to good governance," said Longmore as she declared that any decision to return to representational politics would not be just about her anymore.

"I have two toddlers who I want to give a lot of my time," she said. "However, it frightens me to think of the society they may be living in, and that may also spur me into vying for a position that could see me helping to improve such; but as for now, who knows what the future holds?"

According to Longmore, she is like any other Jamaican who cares about their country and wants to make changes and like any other Jamaican woman and mother who wants the best for her children.

"We all must recognise that these very significant problems did not just start now, she said. "Very bad seeds were sewn in the past by decisions that were made with short-sighted projections, and the very same is still happening."

Longmore, who resigned as the JLP caretaker for Eastern St Andrew shortly after the 2011 defeat, charged that the PNP made some bad decisions in the past, "some of which they are desperately trying to correct now".

She added that the JLP has some serious internal issues, "but the members seem to recognise that they need to get their act together, and are making efforts to do so".

"With the state of affairs now in the society, I think the JLP is a viable option, but they deservedly would be under significant scrutiny, and would have to demonstrate their competence rather quickly," she said.

But even as she mulls over her future, Longmore said there is an urgent need for the political directorate to put the people of Jamaica first.

"This is particularly so when you recognise that you are not capable ... the worse combination for leadership is ignorance and arrogance, not knowing what to do and being too proud to even admit that. Your charges will be the ones to suffer the most," she said.