BREAKING NEWS … first online report …

And so tonight, Jamaica has its first, Prime Minister.

TVJ Prime Time News, 20:00

In all the excitement, the TVJ reporter forgot to clarify that the winner of today’s People’s National Party leadership race was to become Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister!

She was always the people’s favourite©, but because the voting was limited to around 4,000 party delegates, there was a chance that the more conservative delegates would prefer a less flamboyant leader than Portia Simpson Miller. Portia, for almost everyone refers to her thus, was constantly denigrated because of the lack of a Ph.D., unlike her three rivals, who always use their “Dr” title. Most Jamaicans, make that most any nationality, really couldn’t care less if their leader had spent five years on an obscure research topic that interested very very few. (Point of interest: try finding out where and what exactly each of the other three candidates studied; I couldn’t find out much …)

However, results are what count. And on that point, there was little to distinguish the four candidates, all of whom are long-standing Ministers in a government that is widely discredited in its ability to improve the lot of the majority of Jamaicans. Portia, in particular, was attacked in the Jamaica Observer for having represented a constituency in the capital in which there are still shanty residences without running water. Most commenters within her party, however, focus on her supposedly unknown ability to deal with government affairs, despite the fact that she has been an elected party official all her adult life.

My feeling is that the most important thing that Portia brings to the country now is a spirit of change – if nothing else, a change from another over-educated grey-haired man.

Whether there is substance behind the spirit remains to be seen.

I hope so.

P.S. The election victory announcement was made in typically long-winded manner by outgoing Prime Minister PJ Patterson, whose voice is eventually drowned out by Shaggy singing, I wonder if God is a woman.

P.P.S. The People’s National Party is one of the few places where one can hear people address one another as “comrade”; but it is probably the only place where you can hear the leader saying, “God bless Jamaica, comrades”!

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