Constituents turned out for Portia's farewell

June 28, 2017
Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller laughs during yesterday's joint sitting of the House of Representatives, as she and Dr Omar Davies sat in Parliament for the last time s MPs.
Portia Simpson Miller with members of the public on the campaign trail.

As Portia Simpson Miller made her last appearance in Parliament yesterday, scores of her constituents gathered outside Gordon House to glimpse her as their member of parliament for the last time.

According to some of them, Simpson Miller played the role of mother, father and even babyfather in their lives and the reality of not having her as their MP is too scary to grasp.

"Boi mi nuh know. it scary to really imagine life without her as we MP," Marjorie Johnson told THE STAR. "Portia is next to God to me. You have the Father in my life then Portia."

Johnson said that she has been following the PNP stalwart from she was a teenager when Simpson Miller became MP for the first time.




"When she became MP my father said that woman has a purpose and she served as a purpose for true," Johnson said.

She said that Simpson Miller's purpose was to educate youth and nurture the elderly.

All of Johnson's children were schooled by Simpson Miller, a reality that is common among the constituents, THE STAR was told.

It was for this reason Sophia Hendricks, a janitor at Haile Selassie High, had to cut work short to hear Simpson Miller in her final address as her MP.

"She send my six kids to school so mi did have to leave work to come here," Hendricks said. "Is she even get this work for me."

Simpson Miller was elected to Parliament in 1976 and has been member of the House ever since apart from the period between 1983 and 1989 due to the PNP's boycott of the 1983 snap elections.

She served as minister in various Ministries from 1989 to 2006 when she was appointed as Prime Minister of Jamaica. She was the first and to date only woman to have achieved this position.

But after she lost her second election in 2015, it was felt members of her party asked for her to step aside.

"Dem force her out, talking bout she is old and you have many persons in the party just as old," Marie Bennett said.

In her address, it was her constituents Simpson Miller thanked first.

"In two days, I will no longer represent the people of South West St Andrew but they know that I will never leave them," Miller said. "They have made me who I am."

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