There She Goes for the last time! The end of an Era
TRIBUTE TO PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER ON HER RETIREMENT - JUNE 27, 2017
LISA HANNA, MP
It's difficult to speak about political life in Jamaica as I know it without referring to Portia Simpson-Miller. During my time in politics, she has always been there. She's the irresistible force you reckon with at your own risk. She’s the immovable object around which everyone builds political careers. With unmasked hubris she fools the unsuspecting novice of her natural discernment. She LIVES for the People’s National Party. She LOVES the People’s National Party. She IS the People’s National Party.
I not only watched her press forward over the years but admired her no nonsense approach to dealing with things head on. I was a beneficiary of this approach about ten years ago. When she took a chance on me. Threw me in the deep end and said "swim girl!" So, I swam!
What can I say about this lady who gave me hope and promise? Her political achievements are legendary. So let me tell you about the person. Perhaps what you all don't know is she’s the most mischievous person I've ever met. She loves to play the practical joke on you. Having been her emissary on several occasions I'm sure The Member from West Kingston will feel relieved that the mastermind behind some of his most awkward moments in this House is hanging up her gloves.
Never let her catch you in what appears to her to be (as they say) a "juicy" conversation. "Is what you and Natalie talking about?" and she would move right in and not budge until you divulge every tid bit. She’d then introduce her laughter and colourful wit that would make even Roger Clarke blush. Every Parliamentarian knows how impossible that was.
But with all her vivacity, charm and presence, it was her role as mother to so many of us that stands out for me. She always sensed when something was wrong no matter where you were. You could be across a play field behind a rock minding your own business. Someone would appear: "PM call you". She took your issues to heart and carried them on her shoulders no matter who you were or where you came from. She would not only warm your heart but also soothe your soul.
I’m sure it was the Mother in her that moved her to put me under the care and guidance of another political giant who leaves us today. The impact on my career of Omar Davies has been unsurpassed. He took the time to teach me about being an MP; about being a Minister; and became my staunchest defender when the wicked came upon me to eat up my flesh.
So, I also thank Portia for Omar. Today, Jamaica loses two political giants at once. That’s a double whammy difficult to survive.
But it wasn’t just me. Portia was Mother to all Jamaicans especially the children. As her Minister for Youth I had to keep her informed daily. She took the necessary steps to ensure cases involving serious violent offenses against children were afforded priority scheduling and disposal in the Courts. She gave instructions to amend the existing legislation to impose harsher penalties on persons who committed violent crimes against children. SHE tabled them in this Parliament while she was PM. It’s time to enact them.
But, above all, she lives for all Jamaicans. She loves all Jamaicans with a passion that passeth all understanding. She IS Jamaica. She’s Jamaica’s invincible defender; Jamaica’s invincible advocate; Jamaica’s invincible warrior; Jamaica’s invincible ambassador
Farewell Portia. We love you. May God go with you and you with God!
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