Mark Titus and Ruddy Mathison, Gleaner Writers
People's National Party (PNP) President Portia Simpson Miller has declared herself the clear winner of the debate with Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness on Tuesday.
Simpson Miller has also scoffed at the critics of her declaration, during the debate, that she wants to see a "Jamaican queen".
According to Simpson Miller, when another minister had said he wanted a "Jamaican queen" everyone was silent on the matter.
"Let me allay the fears of all who want to take me on for something as simple as that. I think I have proven myself. Just give me a break and let me carry on the nation's business.
"All who want to take me on, I am a black woman and I am strong," she said to thunderous shouts from the sea of orange-clad supporters in Falmouth, North Trelawny, on Wednesday night.
Simpson Miller was upbeat as she defended her performance in the debate.
"We were told that Portia cannot talk. We were told that obviously the university I went to is not recognised. We were told that I would be demolished ... but who demolished who?" asked Simpson Miller to thunderous applause from her supporters.
"In the debate last night (Tuesday), Mr Holness said that he is troubled by renegotiation. Well, for one, I did not say that I would renegotiate with the IMF, because their (JLP) programme with the IMF was so bad it is dead, so I could not renegotiate anything that is dead," declared Simpson Miller.
"I said we would negotiate an extended fund facility with the IMF that would give us the space, longer time for us to work to grow the economy and work for serious growth and development with job creation."
The PNP's candidate for North Trelawny, attorney-at-law Patrick Atkinson, was quick to agree that Simpson Miller was the winner of the debate.
"She was charming, she was wise, she was prime ministerial, and with dignity, she put a beating on Andrew," Atkinson told the cheering comrades.
In the meantime, Simpson Miller blasted the JLP government for its failure to provide jobs for Jamaicans.
"Any sensitive government recognising the crisis in this country at this time would want to put together a programme to generate employment for the people of this country.
"When the People's National Party was in power, our government created thousands of jobs ... We brought in foreign-direct investments and millions of dollars into Jamaica. So I am warning the young people, when you go to vote, vote for your jobs," said Simpson Miller.
She promised that job creation would be an essential part of the economic programme of the PNP if it is elected to form the next government.
The PNP president also expressed concern about a comment she said was made by Holness suggesting that the private sector and not the Government should be providing jobs.
"Any sensible Government would want to put forward a programme to create employment for the people of Jamaica," said Simpson Miller.