Portia The Charlatan

As if things have already not spun out of control, Portia Simpson-Miller is actually resolute about becoming the next Prime Minister of Jamaica and by extension the President of the PNP. One seriously ponders whether Portia assumes that she has the capabilities needed to lead such a complex country. Does she actually believe that her performance in her varying Ministerial portfolios was even commendable? Does she believe that her so called compassion and empathy for the poor will sail her in? Is she under the false conviction that she has a credible and comprehensive enough vision on the way forward for Jamaica? Has she forgotten the type of government/party that she is a very senior member of? Tonnes more questions are there to ask Portia, however, due to limited space one has stop here. An analysis of Portia Simpson-Miller’s performance and the regime she has been an integral part of is more important. University students must be presented with the truth on Portia and not be besieged by gobbledygook.

Portia Simpson-Miller has been a part of the Peoples National Party since the 1970’s. She has been a Member of Parliament since 1976 and a Minister of Government since the early 1990’s. She has been an integral part of inarguably the most malicious, corrupt, incompetent, imprudent and wasteful government [Patterson administration] ever in the history of this country. Mrs. Simpson-Miller has, as a very senior member of the Government and the PNP gone along with all the policies and positions of the government. She hasn’t, with the exception of one public relations stunt in Parliament, ever challenged or censured her colleagues for their malicious and maladroit handling of the affairs of our country. She probably had no moral authority to do so simply because her portfolio responsibilities are also in a mess. I will go on to speak about this later. She has simply watched as her country briskly sinks into a pit of depravity.

Jamaica is currently and has throughout the duration of the Patterson/Simpson-Miller/Phillips/Davies/Blythe regime fallen into four general crises: economic, social, environmental and political. These crises are underpinned by one problem, BAD GOVERNANCE. No other regime in the Anglo-Caribbean can rival the level of bad governance offered by the current ruling PNP administration. What else can explain a disaster ridden education system, a super high world-ranking murder rate, a general collapse of law and order, a collapsing health care system, a stagnating economy, a paucity of vision/direction, a decrepit justice system, widespread mismanagement, appalling corruption, widespread hopelessness, governmental incompetence, an extremely high deforestation rate, abject poverty, a widening gap between rich and poor, and a litany of other dilemmas. What else can explain the fact that 91% of Jamaicans in a poll conducted a month ago by Don Anderson, believes that corruption has increased, primarily in the public sector over the last five years? This administration has successfully managed to turn Jamaica unto the road of becoming a failed state. Why should one believe that anyone of the several drivers would turn us around? Chances are that the drivers might accelerate so as to reach the failed state section of the road [probably off a cliff], where there might be no turning back. British Prime Minister Tony Blair once stated that, “ The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” It is a well-established fact Portia is a ‘yes’ leader who is unfortunately blinded by loyalty.

The Jamaica Fire Brigade under this administration has been belittled to a Ramshackle Fire Brigade. The Brigade is severely under-equipped. Houses, business establishments and most sorrowfully lives have been lost. The Fire Brigade has become an ineffective operation. This is primarily due to the fact that the Service is grossly underfunded. The Minister in charge of this essential service, Portia Simpson-Miller, has been highly ineffective in garnering funds from her own colleagues in the cabinet. Her Ministry saw a massive cut in this year’s budget. This could be argued to be an illustration of Portia’s ineffectiveness in securing such critically needed funds. She must have heard the cries of Jamaicans on the daily evening news, as citizens lament the gross inefficiencies of the Fire Service. How many more people would have to die, or how many more properties would have to be devastated before Portia wakes up out of her slumber and tackles this grave dilemma in the interest of Jamaica.

Formidable allegations of massive fraud, corruption and cronyism to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars have crippled the National Solid Waste Management Authority [NSWMA], a state agency to which Portia Simpson-Miller is directly responsible for. The handling of the matter by the Minister was sloppy and illustrates a high level of managerial incompetence. Mrs. Simpson-Miller must have been cognizant of the alarming fact that the Agency had not produced any audited financial reports to the Auditor General over the last 2 YEARS. This did not seem to concern the lady who wants to be Prime Minister of Jamaica. She has up to the writing of this newsletter failed to call in the police to conduct investigations and charge the culprits. Matters were exacerbated by the fact that a self-acclaimed genetically linked PNP supporter made off with $84million from a contract [that was not put up for tender]. Is Portia Simpson-Miller sincere about altering the local political landscape, so as to put the best interests of Jamaicans at the forefront? As a matter of fact has she ever given the impression to you that she is absolutely sincere about eliminating corruption, mismanagement and incompetence that have characterized Jamaica’s political landscape? Further yet does the sloppy, lethargic and nonchalant handling of the NSWMA affair by her, augur well for someone who wants to lead our beloved country?

Portia’s performance in other portfolio areas illustrates her generally abysmal managerial skills. The overarching point is that her performance is similar to her fellow colleagues in terms of the management of their respective portfolios. She has undoubtedly been a failure. Does the average worker in Jamaica believe that Portia Simpson-Miller’s past tenure as Minister of Labour has brought a fair enough amelioration of working conditions or a general improvement in the rights of workers? I wonder what the thousands of security guards in Jamaica would have to say about her tenure as Labour Minister. They have pretty much been working in slave-like conditions for years. I also wonder what other workers with a similar status would say. This is quite ironic for a woman who is seen as being a passionate advocate for the working classes. Her performance as Tourism Minister has also been ridiculed in many quarters.

Contrary to what many might believe the PNP is a divided party. Firstly the party is segmented into five main camps, these are the pro-Portia Simpson-Miller, pro-Peter Phillips, pro-Omar Davies, pro-Karl Blythe and the mi-confused camp. The party can then be segmented into two general groups. These are the Drumblair Set or the UWI mafia and the pro-Portia/Blythe group. This latter segmentation is due to the powerful influences of social classes in the PNP. The upper-middle class/Drumblair Set/UWI mafia are vehemently opposed to seeing Portia becoming President of the PNP and possibly Prime Minister of Jamaica. It is argued that this group has been devising devilish strategies to derail her ambitions so as to push forward either Dr. Peter Phillips or Dr. Omar Davies. The colossal cut in her Ministry’s budget is seen as one of the many strategies being utilized to derail her efforts. This faction is under the belief that “Portia is not intellectually competent to deal with the gargantuan task of steering 21st century Jamaica through the rough, turbulent seas of globalization.”(Ian Boyne In Focus Sunday Gleaner FEB 6/2005). By all indications it is becoming
more and more apparent that tensions are rising fast within the PNP and these tensions will simply have a detrimental impact on the affairs of Jamaica.

It is more than apparent that Portia Simpson-Miller is not suitable to becoming a Prime Minister of Jamaica. Her becoming Prime Minister of Jamaica would be just as devastating as the current Prime Minister of Jamaica. It would be a catastrophe therefore if Simpson-Miller is considered for the top job. Jamaica has arrived at a crossroad and is faced with two options: a) continuing on the path of destruction, hopelessness, increased corruption, mismanagement, nonchalance, and a perpetuation of the existing political order or b) turning unto the path of vision, prosperity and good governance. Frankly all contenders for leadership in the PNP have given the distinct impression that they will log on to option (a).

N.B. What in the hell has happened to the Community Development aspect of Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller’s portfolio, note that Portia Simpson-Miller is the Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport? Also, it would be sincere of the Minister to back up all those hugs and kisses with action.

-The fate of a nation has often depended upon the good or bad digestion of a prime minister. – Attributed to Voltaire (1694 – 1778) French writer and philosopher.