Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
With another summer to go before the next general election is constitutionally due, the People's National Party (PNP) threw down the gauntlet yesterday as it brought the curtains down on its bus tour with repeated declarations that the party was on a mission.
"If Bruce t'ink him bad, call election," declared PNP President Portia Simpson Miller to the delight of orange-clad supporters.
Clearly buoyed by the seeming success of the first of the two-day jaunt across the island, the PNP continued to capitalise on the new-found fame of K.D. Knight and the well-established adoration showered on Simpson Miller.
After ending Monday night in Trelawny's capital of Falmouth, the senior attorney, who stole the show and the hearts of many Jamaicans at the Manatt-Dudus commission of enquiry, spent the start of yesterday's leg of the journey signing scores of autographs at Sam Sharpe Square - a new occurrence on the local political landscape.
Knight, Simpson Miller and other leaders had spent Tuesday pressing flesh - shaking hands and embracing - a more conventional practice in the political arena.
Although the turnout was impressive, it was impossible to assess the true support on the ground at each stop point because of the large number of 'imported' supporters travelling in the vehicular convoy.
There was no question that the turnout in Hanover's capital was huge.
Knight would not allow Comrades to forget at least the abbreviated versions of the phrases that have spiked his notoriety.
The phrases "Bruce must go" and "pathologically mendacious" continued to elicit gleeful laughter among supporters who danced in reckless abandon at just about anything the speakers uttered.
Knight, the same Comrade who in the past was engaged in infamous spats with Simpson Miller, declared at Sam Sharpe Square that the party president's name was so sweet that he had to say it twice as he presented her to the people of Montego Bay, St James.
He even dubbed Simpson Miller "the next prime minister".
Simpson Miller, her voice beginning to crack on the last leg from the strain of the previous day, continued her chant "enough is enough" in reference to the Bruce Golding administration.
It was also a day when unruly supporters apparently had enough of the relative order that characterised the first day of the bus tour. They were nuisances to motorists going about their business as they hindered the flow of traffic, even as the police worked feverishly to avert a crisis.
It was no better on the Hopewell main road - a two-way thoroughfare - as members of the motorcade parked their vehicles on both sides, effectively blocking traffic flow.
Kellier blasts golding
PNP Vice-President Derrick Kellier lambasted Golding on the loss of hundreds of jobs since the JLP took office, but no mention was made of the global recession that precipitated the economic fallout.
Although the PNP adamantly maintained that the event was not a campaign, new candidates/caretakers were introduced and old ones given a dressing over.
In tough Eastern Hanover, D.K. Duncan's expression was stoic, devoid of a hint of a smile, as he was introduced.
Unlike Tuesday when the penetrating effect of the sun was a constant, yesterday was more uncertain, starting with bleak skies in St James, the sun peeking out briefly in Hanover, before thick black clouds gave way to showers as the Comrades passed through Westmoreland, another known PNP territory.
But the rains had clearly kept the supporters away in Negril where the roads were desolate.
The bus tour continued through Westmoreland before culminating in a mass meeting in Mandeville, Manchester, touching the 11th of the 14 parishes across the island.