Porteous running with faith

Businesswoman confident that she has the remedy for the ills of Central Kingston

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, June 16, 2019

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MINISTER of religion and businesswoman Joan Porteous has made it no secret that she sees herself playing a major role in the development of Jamaica through representational politics.

So far her efforts to enter Gordon House have been unsuccessful but Porteous is convinced that the stars are now aligned, and through Kingston central her dream will be achieved.

Porteous, who boasts of decades of ties to Central Kingston, believes she is the perfect person to replace Ronald Thwaites as the People's National Party's (PNP) standard-bearer in the constituency.

“I have done a lot of work in this constituency, and my father used to run a very large bus company and many of the conductors and drivers were employed from this constituency,” Porteous told the Jamaica Observer.

“I would consider that I have a legacy here and I have already helped a lot of people in this constituency,” added Porteous.

She said that if given the nod by the around 550 PNP delegates, she will embark on programmes to develop the ageing infrastructure in Kingston Central, end the cycle of violence that has plagued several communities in the constituency, while ensuring opportunities for the residents to develop economically.

“Politics is about people, and if you are in politics and it is not about the people then you should not bother with politics. You must be able to encourage and help people to start a small business and give them a little subsidy to get them going,” Porteous declared.

“You must help a man to learn to fish, you cannot continue to give him a fish. The kind of fish they have been giving to these people over the years is like a little bushing work, and you cannot develop a person like that — you have to develop his God-given talent.

“Help him to write a business plan and educate him,” added Porteous who unsuccessfully contested the 2011 general election in St Andrew West Rural on a National Democratic Movement ticket.

She said, even while working for the holistic development of the people of Kingston Central, she will establish a food bank to help to meet their immediate needs and arrange full-free education access for the children.

“You must not worry as a parent to send your child to school. You must be able to prepare your child, send that child to school, and your child must have access to lunch and breakfast. The stress and problem of finding the fees and the books each year must not be a worry for parents.

“To do full, free education you must have a funding base and I have already researched a funding base for this. Everything must be funded and I have the political will, and I'm sure that the PNP also has the political will to do this,” said Porteous while not disclosing details of where the money would be found.

According to Porteous improvements in the infrastructure in Kingston Central will take some time, but it can be done.

“I believe, and I am not foisting my faith on anyone, but we must have faith. We must believe in a power that is higher and greater than ourselves. It is not a superficial political process where the MP comes in and give you a little $4,000 or $5,000 and 20 years later where are you?” said the minister of religion.

“My faith will make the difference in Central Kingston. There is nothing done without God and I have that faith that I can change Central Kingston. If I have the tools as a politician, with the resources that goes to every constituency, I can make a change. I am not there to take any money for myself because I want to leave a legacy in central Kingston.”

Porteous also scoffed at claims that she is heading to Kingston Central because she sees it as a safe PNP seat which will propel her into Parliament.

“There is no such thing as a safe seat. We must respect the intelligence of our people; they know who do good and who has done bad. I want Central Kingston, because my father, the late James Porteous, left a legacy in Kingston and I believe in leaving my legacy too.”

With dancehall artiste LA Lewis as her campaign manager, Porteous, a graduate of Holy Childhood High School and the University of the West Indies, said she is heading to this weekend's selection contest confident that the delegates of Central Kingston will remember what she has done for them over the years.

Lewis, a strong backer of the PNP, is also confident that his candidate will be given the nod because the Comrades will see that she deserves it.

“LA Lewis never backed a loser yet. The other candidates are too soft for central Kingston and Ms Porteous understands downtown” he declared as he pointed to several politicians he has campaigned for in the past who were victorious.


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