Chairman of the Opposition People’s National Party, Robert Pickersgill, is adamant that party President, Portia Simpson-Miller, was in no way pushed to announce her departure date.
However, Mrs. Simpson Miller’s address to the party’s National Executive Council yesterday suggests otherwise.
In delivering her final address to the NEC, Mrs. Simpson-Miller never announced her departure timeline.
The PNP’s Secretariat later issued a statement indicating Mrs. Simpson Miller will step down as PNP President on April 2.
This, after a special delegates’ conference is held on March 26 to elect her replacement.
Mrs. Simpson Miller also lashed out against some comrades.
Former Member of Parliament for Eastern Hanover, Dr. D.K. Duncan, yesterday told journalists that he’s saddened by what he described as the seeming ‘inordinate pressure’ placed on Mrs. Simpson Miller to announce her departure date.
He says she’s admitted to feeling pressured to step down.
However, speaking yesterday with journalists after the party’s National Executive Council meeting in Manchester, PNP Chairman, Robert Pickersgill, denied this.
But yesterday, Mrs. Simpson Miller used her address to the NEC to rail against some members, whom she says have wanted to see her back for a long time.
Members of the media were able to hear parts of her address.
An apparently angry Mrs. Simpson Miller told the PNP that it should not come to her again when it wants to use her to win another election.
Mrs. Simpson Miller lamented that at the last post NEC media briefing in December last year it was announced that she was leaving the post soon.
She says this announcement was made without the matter being first discussed with her.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said because of this she kept the timeline for her departure to herself.
She also told the NEC that she’d remain as Member of Parliament for South West St. Andrew, until the appropriate time, after she steps down as party President.
Mrs. Simpson Miller told the NEC that those quote: “henkering” for her constituency better think again– end quote.
She told the meeting that there are some comrades who’ve tried to suggest that she’s an idiot.
She defended herself, saying she didn’t know it was possible for an idiot to obtain a Bachelor’s degree.
The PNP President also lashed out at what she described as ungrateful elements in the party.
She said these ungrateful elements have failed to appreciate that she has quote: “worked like a horse and a donkey for this movement till my back is sore.” End quote.
She also said there’re some comrades who don’t like to see women in leadership positions.
However, Mr. Pickersgill says he’s satisfied with how the transition process in the party is going so far.
He says he didn’t notice any anger in Mrs. Simpson Miller’s address.
PNP Deputy Chairman, Anthony Hylton, said Mrs. Simpson Miller was likely disappointed.
Former PNP Vice President, Dr. Karl Blythe, who challenged Mrs. Simpson Miller for the presidency of the PNP in September last year, also said he was saddened by how her departure timetable was announced.
And Mr. Pickersgill says he’s unaware as to why Mrs. Simpson Miller would claim that her departure was reported as happening ‘soon’ at the post NEC media briefing in December.
Mr. Pickersgill says he heard that concern for the first time yesterday. He was supported by Deputy Chairman of the PNP, Anthony Hylton.
In the meantime, PNP General Secretary, Julian Robinson, says Mrs. Simpson Miller and the PNP officer corps both agreed she could contribute to the Budget Debate in March before stepping down.
Mrs. Simpson Miller first told Nationwide News that she would contribute to the budget debate in her capacity as Opposition Leader.
This reportedly caused anxiety among some members of the party who felt she should’ve stepped down earlier to allow her expected successor, Dr. Peter Phillips, to present in the budget debate as Opposition Leader.
And political analyst, Dr. Paul Ashley, says he’s taken aback by Mrs. Simpson Miller’s comments at yesterday’s meeting of the PNP’s National Executive Council.
He says the matter of Mrs. Simpson Miller’s resignation as PNP President has brought into sharp focus the need for new political conventions.