The Most Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller

Jamaica's last democratic hope

Jamaica Gleaner

'Portia is last democratic hope' - Law professor says PM is champion for the poor

published: Tuesday | May 8, 2007

UNIVERSITY OF Miami law professor, David Rowe, says Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller represents the "last democratic hope" for the struggling majority of Jamaica's poor, comparing her to National Heroes Marcus Garvey, advocate of black pride, and labour leader Alexander Bustamante, in terms of her role as a champion of the black majority who are poor.

Addressing a dinner organised by the ruling People's National Party with patriotic and "compassionate" business persons last Friday night, Rowe, a legendary defence attorney renowned for representing Jamaican nationals in the United States, said that in a society where wealth was still controlled by racial minorities, Simpson Miller was the best option for the majority of Jamaicans for whom the "dutty is still tough".

"Portia is the person who understands the fears of the poor, and feels their pain. Throughout her political career, she has championed the rights of the under-represented and those who our society forgot, and those who are now politically empowered through her, but are still socially and financially disadvantaged," said Rowe.

Superb leader

He noted that "Portia" had been a "superb leader of the people for the past year despite the deliberate obstacles placed in her path".

"Portia is the greatest hope for Jamaican labour in 70 years as she is the modern Bustamante in a regal female form. She leads usin a fight for independence, not political independence of the 1960s, but independence for women, independence for the poor, independence for the neglected children," Rowe observed.

He was also critical of what he said was a deliberate campaign in sections of the media to undermine and belittle Simpson Miller and cast her as "doomed".

Call for reduced red tape

"True leaders of Jamaican labour are never doomed. Oligarchs and enemies of the people are doomed," said Rowe.

In his contribution, businessman Sean Belcher called for a renewed emphasis by the state on reducing red tape and bureaucracy in order to liberate and simplify business investment, as well as alluding to the need for venture capital for creative and qualified individuals for whom bank financing was not a viable option.

Recounting his own difficulties in getting capital for his business, as well as issues with customs to bring in personal effects when relocating, Belcher called for a more business-friendly outlook from government, as well as a greater social conscience from businesspersons.