Portia's journey in film

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, February 25, 2019

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Portia Simpson Miller has defended breaking rules in her political career which spanned over four decades and climaxed with her becoming Jamaica's first female prime minister.

Her comments came at the première of the documentary, Journey: Break Every Rule, held at Carib 5 cinema in Kingston, yesterday. She noted that she was intrigued by the title given by producer/director Lennie-Little White, especially the 'break every rule' aspect.

“You don't know Portia as one to break rules, then to compound it by including the word every in the title. But then again, to be accurate and fair to all concerned, I have broken some rules. I have broken the rules when it refers to being a fierce defender of the poor; being the first female leader of government and Jamaica's seventh prime minister, then I did break the rules. If I did break the rules when it refers to my leadership in providing land for the landless, decent housing for the poor; spearheading the game-changing North-South Highway and transforming the National Insurance Fund to finance old-age pensions. When one can chart a course or take a path that has not been travelled before or indeed take a road less travelled and in doing so not only make your mark, but be part of a process of change, then I say to you with a feeling of satisfaction that I have broken the rules,” she told a packed house.

Simpson Miller stressed that: “Jamaica is better for these path-defining aspects of my journey.”

Little-White's feature takes viewers on a journey from her roots in rural Woodhall, St Catherine, through her move to Kingston, then into her political career as a councillor, member of parliament in 1976, to her historic ascent to prime minister in 2006.

For 52 minutes, a number of leaders, including Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips; former Prime Minister PJ Patterson; University of the West Indies' vice chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange; Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Mottley; paid tribute to Simpson Miller for her leadership and fortitude in overcoming barriers of class, race and gender.

Little-White announced that Opposition member of parliament Phillip Paulwell is seeking funds for a second film looking at Simpson Miller's political life and ascendancy in the People's National Party.

Journey: Break Every Rule is the fourth in a catalogue of biographical films produced by Little-White and his production firm Mediamix, looking at outstanding Jamaicans.

So far, he has produced similar features on Patterson, scholar and cultural figure Professor Rex Nettleford, and artist Barrington Watson. His next project will be about renowned folklorist Louise Bennett-Coverley, popularly known as Miss Lou. This, Little-White said, will be released to culminate with celebrations of her 100th birthday on September 7.

The film's soundtrack includes the music of Jimmy Cliff, Pam Hall, Etana, Richie Stephens, Shaggy, Boris Gardiner, Tarrus Riley, Peter Lloyd, Jon Williams and Gussie Clarke.


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