Portia is not Obama

Tuesday, September 18, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

Portia will never inspire like Barack Obama, and neither will Andrew Holness, for that matter. Talking heads, journalists, opinion makers and others with access to media have been clamouring for the prime minister to comment on every issue affecting the country, and especially those they consider of "national importance", even if it means stepping on or over the relevant portfolio minister. But as reported, she's "not going to talk herself out of power, like previous prime ministers".

Let's face it, Jamaica is a blessed country; we have many resources: natural, human, educational, business, civic and sport, to name a few. But we've never been blessed with inspirational political and/or business leaders. We've never been blessed with exceptional leadership.

Yes, we've had some charismatic leaders like Marcus Garvey and Michael Manley, but those currently in the public domain just don't have the ability to articulate a vision for national development that inspires. After they're through speaking, you're not motivated to pull up yourself by the bootstraps or even to climb Blue Mountain Peak!

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is an excellent communicator and advocate on issues concerning the poor and downtrodden. And the average Jamaican believes that if an administration led by her had the resources, she would ensure that it was equitably distributed among all the different social classes, and the poor would be well taken care of - that's why the PNP was returned to power last December. But she's not a gifted and inspirational leader. She doesn't have the ability to inspire the majority of Jamaicans. She has not demonstrated the ability to articulate a vision for the country.

Jamaicans, by and large, accept her for who she is, believing her compassionate demeanour compensates for her shortcomings. So the decibel of the chorus of voices had better decrease because Portia does not have the gift to inspire like Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. Like the writer, maybe they need to start watching less US presidential election campaign coverage.

Carlos King





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