Farmer Joe stands firm
Farmer Joe, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) mascot who the parliamentary opposition said would soon be leading a band of disgruntled persons away from the governing party, yesterday made an unexpected visit to Parliament, denouncing suggestions he was suffering under Labour's governance.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, while making his presentation in Parliament, boasted that despite Jamaica's economy shrinking by 2.7 per cent agriculture was booming, and that Farmer Joe was a testimony of that growth.
Agriculture recorded 12.5 per cent growth last year.
"There are at least some persons who appreciate the signi-ficance of that achievement. Farmer Joe didn't call me on the phone. He came to see me. He said to me in his own inimitable style, 'Mi and mi neighbour voted for Labour' and we are part of that 12. 5 per cent," Golding said.
However, Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, who resurrected Farmer Joe when she contributed to the debate last week, retorted "that is not what he told me on Sunday".
She had hardly uttered those words when Golding flipped his trump card. "We are going to put that to the test because so proud is he to be part of the 12.5 per cent that he is here today," Golding said.
Exclaimed Golding: "Farmer Joe!"
And Farmer Joe, who was sitting undetected in the audience, obeyed. It was like he brought laughter gas with him, as the House and the gallery erupted.
Last week, Simpson Miller told Parliament that she expected Farmer Joe to call, saying, "Sister P, me and mi neighbour a suffer under Labour."
Farmer Joe is a fictional portrayal of Jamaica's farmers. In an advertisement, he responds to a phone call from Simpson Miller, telling her she cannot manage the job of prime minister and that he would vote for the JLP.