Tue | Jan 22, 2019

PNP groups rush to Portia's defence

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2016 | 8:58 AM

Two organs of the People’s National Party (PNP) have come to the defence of its president, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in response to a report published in The Sunday Gleaner headlined 'Powerless Portia'.

Describing the news article as an opinion piece, president of the PNP Youth Organisation Andrae Blair expressed “amazement” at it.

Blair made no reference to poll findings contained in the report or the reported chants of anti-Simpson Miller sentiments from protesters out of North East St Elizabeth last week.
He charged that the article imputed that young comrades do not fully support Simpson Miller as PNP President and that the Prime Minister is “powerless”.

“Baseless lies and political spin doctoring timed to try and influence an election,” he said. “Only those with a blinkered view of politics could make such an inaccurate observation.”

“Portia Simpson Miller is recognised and respected as a leader by youth from all walks of life within and outside the Party.”

“PNPYO members revere her, even our 16 year olds acknowledge, admire and respect her achievements,” Blair wrote.
“She is seen as an example of courage, loved and enduring patriot who has lived it all and is truly willing to guide and enrich the youth of her party.”

READ: Powerless Portia - PNP president accused of losing control of her party

At the same time, President of the PNP’s Women’s Movement, Jennifer Edwards charged that the headline belittled the power contained in the Office of the Party President and described it is “explicitly sexist.”

Edwards contended that it is a position arrived at due to some of the uncivilized patriarchal ideas about leadership which have decimated Jamaica’s socio-political environment for decades.

Although former Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party Edward Seaga had staved off more challenges in his 31-year stint as party leader, Edwards stated: “The current Prime Minister holds more power than many of her predecessors, especially more than the last three from the JLP.”

Edwards also made no reference to poll findings that show that Simpson Miller’s popularity was on the decline.

She instead contended that Simpson Miller was twice elected to the office of Party President by the majority of PNP delegates and has received unanimous support each year at the PNP’s Annual Conference.

“She received what was a JLP constituency, and it voted Simpson Miller and the PNP in all the elections she has contested,” said Edwards.