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PNP deluded! - Political watchers dismiss party’s explanation for Portia poor showing

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
PNP President Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (left) exchanging words with the party's general secretary Paul Burke,

Political watchers dismiss party's explanation for Portia's poor showing

Political watchers, in large measure, appear unimpressed by the People's National Party's (PNP's) claim that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's poor showing in recent Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson polls was a result of her putting the country before herself.

PNP General Secretary Paul Burke made the claim last week as he reacted to the poll, which showed Simpson Miller's favourability rating plummeting to its lowest level since she was elected PNP president (36%) and trailing Jamaica Labour Party Leader Andrew Holness by seven percentage points.

"The party believes that in the interest of the people and country, some hard decisions were taken, and so the leader paid the price. The PNP is neither surprised nor worried and remains proud of its Portia Simpson Miller-led Government," said Burke.

But this claim was scoffed at by persons on both sides of the political divide.

For avid PNP supporter Junior Thompson, Burke is not in touch with the people's reality.

"We all know that governmental policies take time to work. As we see in the United States, it took two terms before Americans could see the results of the hard decisions Obama had to make," said Thompson.

But he argued that the difference between Obama and Simpson Miller is that the American president was front and centre with the people.

"Had Simpson Miller taken a more leading approach, the mountain wouldn't be so high to climb now," asserted Thompson as he argued that the matter was compounded by persons designated to speak for the prime minister not having been convincing.


biting remarks


On the other side of the divide, JLP supporter Dorlan Francis was just as biting.

"These are words on paper meaning not a damn thing and certainly do not affect the price of fish back!" declared Francis.

For political observer, Reverton Bailey, the signing of an extended fund facility with the IMF by the Government in 2012 could only be described as an act of desperation, given the grave political implications for the governing party.

"Almost every benchmark ran counter to the philosophy and governance culture of the PNP," he said. "Its traditional base would have to be sacrificed on the altar of fiscal prudence."

Bailey said that this was, and still is, uncharted waters for the PNP. "The greatest challenge, however, has been to its leader, Portia Simpson Miller," said Bailey.

"This programme, more than anything else before, has tested the depths of her connection to the poor," he added.

Another PNP supporter, Richard Hugh Blackford, is not convinced that the PNP is connecting with the people.

"The people have a totally opposite view of the management of the country's business because of the prevalence of crime and insecurity, poor health care, and other repeated cases of corruption and mismanagement in the public sector," charged Blackford.

"I would have thought that the party, which was aware of the latest opinion polls, would have used this information as a springboard to address the numerous concerns of the people and to have an honest dialogue with them at this critical time in our history instead of seemingly focusing on the party and party organisation as the safest route to merely win the next election."