Jamaica elects first female PM

The late Sylvia Vanterpool Robinson.
AP Photo/The Estate of Sylvia Robinson
Collin Reid

Jamaicans voted their first female leader by electing Portia Simpson-Miller, the new prime minister of the island.

Regardless of the outcome, nationals were poised to make history last Thursday when more than one million citizens went to the polls to choose between the Jamaica Labour Party’s candidate being the youngest prime minister in the island’s history or the People’s National Party’s pioneering female leader.

Simpson-Miller proved to be the more formidable candidate and was rewarded with 41 winners representing her party leaving a paltry 22 to her incumbent opposition.

The PNP claimed 53 per cent of the popular vote.

The recent election was the first to contest 63 seats in the House of Representatives. In the 2007 general elections the House comprised 60 seats.

The landslide sweep may have avenged a loss four years ago when the JLP’s Bruce Golding edged out the PNP by a 32 to 28 margin.

At that time Simpson Miller inherited leadership when former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson resigned after serving 18 years in that position.

She held leadership for 18 months before losing to Golding.

But his victory and leadership was short lived ending late last year when he announced he would demit the office of prime minister and also exit politics.

Pundits claim his surprise resignation might be attributed to fallout from the controversial Christopher “Dudus” Coke extradition case which reportedly crippled the Tivoli Gardens community for many days and ended with a long list of victims and scarred residents who may have blamed their area representative and prime minister for the tragedies.

Golding said his reason for the abrupt end to his career was because he believed the government needed youthful leadership.

Two months ago, Andrew Holness, the island’s youngest contender was named to succeed Golding. Hopes were high that youth would favor the disfavored JLP in its quest to lead Jamaica for at least a full five-year term and also into the new year when celebrations of a golden jubilee marks half a century of independent rule and self governance.

However, from the start of the campaign on Dec. 12, Simpson-Miller, a 66-year-old veteran politician who entered politics at age 19 expressed alternate plans for the island.

“When we form the next government, we will expand educational opportunities at all levels, finance a national export strategy, place a special focus on SMEs, negotiate an extended fund facility with the IMF, focus on non-traditional sectors such as ICTs and the creative and cultural sectors,” Simpson Miller detailed.

Apparently her plans suited electorates who voted her and her party the leaders for the nation and the jubilee.

“It is apparent that the people of Jamaica still have concerns about the JLP and we will reflect on that. I wish the new government well. They will face several challenges, but I hope for the benefit of the country they will do a good job,” Holness conceded.

AFUWI Slates Gala

American Foundation for the University of the West Indies recently announced their 15th annual fundraising gala. Slated to be held at the Pierre Hotel on Jan. 25, Harry Belafonte, the honorary patron for the celebration of the learning institution will helm fundraising effects to ensure the mantra “the legacy continues.”

Star Jones will emcee the affair.

For more info. Log onto www.afuwievents.org

O’Jays To Bring ‘Money, Money, Money’ To The Bronx

Legendary soul music group The O’Jays promise a slew of nostalgia on Jan. 14 when they return to Lehman Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Lehman College in the Bronx. The date launches the 31st season of presentations by the CUNY institution and the 40th anniversary of the rhythm and blues sensations. The concert is slated to begin at 8:00 p.m. Lead singer Eddie Levert, said he will reprise hits from their catalogue of 24 Top Ten hits.

Fans should know already inked into the playlist are tracks such as “Love Train,” “Backstabbers, “Use Ta Be My Girl,” and the trademarked cash anthem “For The Love Of Money.” The latter, popularly known by its chorus “money, money, money” may again find patrons waving bills as they dance in their seats.

The group is acclaimed for their musical prowess earning 10 gold albums including nine platinum singles. Their 10 number one hits probably attributed to an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Lehman College is located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, N.Y. 10468. For more information, log onto www.LehmanCenter.org.

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