Portia warns of ‘vote-buying foreigners’ in SW St Andrew race
Retired former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for South West St Andrew, Portia Simpson Miller (right) with Angela Brown Burke at a rally on Friday night.
Retired former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for South West St Andrew, Portia Simpson Miller has implied that persons from outside the constituency have been offering cash to delegates to influence the internal selection for her replacement.
She was among the speakers at Friday night's rally, at the Greenwich Town All Age School, in support of Angela Brown Burke.
Brown Burke is in a run-off with councillor for the Payne Land Division, Audrey Smith Facey, to win the party's nomination to replace Simpson Miller, who vacated the position after serving in that capacity for 40 years.
Simpson Miller lambasted persons she deemed as 'foreigners' who wanted to come into the area to "own the people".
Simpson Miller said, "I have listened in shock to people who are strangers to South West. People who have never come into the constituency in the 43 years that I have been with you. These people never came into South West when there was a fire. When flood waters washed through your homes or when you brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and loved ones have been murdered.
"But they are now speaking on your behalf, before my back is turned. The question is: 'why are they here now'? They have never supported you. They have never respected you. But they have come to buy you. The people of South West St Andrew are not for sale.
Angela Browne Burke Rally
"They were not for sale under Portia and they will not be on sale now, because you all might be poor, but too proud to be for sale," Simpson Miller said.
She likened the situation to the general election last year, in which the People’s National Party was defeated at the poll by the Jamaica Labour Party, under the leadership of Andrew Holness.
She said, "many Jamaicans allowed themselves to be bought in February 2016. Whether it was one thousand or 20 thousand, they allowed themselves to be bought by the other side.
"Some PNP persons sold themselves and now they are paying the price. Food price has increased. Transportation cost has increased. Light bills have increased and there are no health services at our clinics and in the hospitals that people can be proud of.
"Comrades, when you sell your vote, when you allow people to pay you to vote for them or not to vote, you are selling out your rights and the rights of generations yet unborn.
"To the people of St West St. Andrew, you get a money, you go to supermarket, but don't mek dem tell yuh seh tek dem money and don't guh vote. Vote for the candidate of your choice and our candidate is Angela Brown Burke," Simpson Miller said to cheers of approval.
While expressing the view that Brown Burke is the only competent candidate in the race, other speakers at Friday's rally, dubbed 'South West St. Andrew Come Mek Wi Talk', also branded Smith Facey a traitor for going against the wishes of Simpson Miller.
Councillor for the Greenwich Town Division, Karl Blake, who had also indicated an interest to run for the seat, but pulled out afterwards, told the fair-sized gathering, that the money being offered is only for one day.
At the beginning of his speech, Blake said, "if you get a little money now, weh dem a gi out, a one-day oxtail money dat. Wi bigger than dat."
He would further add, while closing, "I want to thank you for coming out and giving your support. I want to see you on the streets tomorrow (Saturday) in your numbers same way and I want you to continue, no matter if dem knock yuh door tonight and shub di 20 inna it. If dem shub it inna it or if dem gi yuh, yuh hold it and seh 'thank yuh Jesus', cause a him send it fi yuh."
Granville Valentine, general secretary of the National Workers Union (NWU), an affiliate of the PNP also weighed in on the money being spent in the constituency.
Valentine said, "there are some people who are for sale. Michael Manley tell you, 'you are not for sale'. We are not for sale. Don't sell you future. Don't sell you children's future. So we have work to do and that work that we have to do, we only can do it now to begin the journey that we must find ourselves going on. We must ensure that we endure to the end of that journey.
"You have people who are running in South West now, because of what Sister P built, because of what Sister P make it to be. So they want to come to the table with them money and their trickery to tell you to betray her," Valentine concluded.