PNP ignoring Portia

PNP ignoring Portia

Officer Emeritus Nicholson bemoans party's failure to credit first woman PM for achievements

Executive editor – special assignment

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica's first woman prime minister who turns 74 today, is not being credited by her own People's National Party (PNP) for outstanding achievements during her tenure, PNP Officer Emeritus A J Nicholson has complained.

“…The PNP has, over time, steadfastly refused to recognise publicly and to trumpet the quick, bold, imaginative moves of (former) Prime Minister Simpson Miller,” Nicholson said in a birthday wish shared with the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Referring to the current positive macroeconomic developments — for which the foundation was laid during the 2012-2016 Simpson Miller Administration — the former foreign minister and minister of justice bemoaned the fact that it was only Dr Peter Phillips, then finance minister and now Opposition leader, who had been credited by the PNP.

Nicholson was referring to falling inflation and interest rates; unprecedented job numbers; impressive reduction in foreign debt; and other bright spots such as the Jamaica Stock Exchange being named as Bloomberg's top-performing stock market in the world.

“It has not escaped public attention, however, at home and in the Diaspora, that in the projection of that message, 'Sista P' has not even been made to share in the trumpeted kudos with the thoroughly deserving Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, now president of the PNP and leader of the Opposition,” he said.

Nicholson took a dig at PNP spokeswoman for foreign affairs Lisa Hanna, who is widely seen as a Portia protégé, contending that she had recognised the work of former PNP leaders Norman Manley, Michael Manley and P J Patterson, but left out Simpson Miller in a recent article.

“We cannot cause ourselves to be dumb to certain other truths that matter,” he snapped.

Further, he suggested that the party's ignoring of Simpson Miller had emboldened the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration to name the new north-south leg of Highway 2000 for late JLP Prime Minister Edward Seaga.

Simpson Miller had negotiated funding for the highway by China and saw it almost to completion before being booted out of office in 2016. The JLP subsequently named it after Seaga who had at one stage criticised the decision to build the now highly prized corridor linking the north coast to the capital Kingston.

Said Nicholson: “For, with such a display of unwillingness if not outright resistance… is there any wonder that the leadership of the JLP, artfully, in brazen fashion, came to feel themselves confidently empowered to name the new north-south highway for Edward Seaga?”

Read the full text of Nicholson's birthday wish here: Happy Birthday Portia — Recalling your international bridges

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