Friday, April 19, 2024

Simpson Miller, Davies to resign June 29


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FORMER PRIME MINISTER and People’s National Party (PNP) Leader Portia Simpson Miller and her party colleague and former Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Omar Davies, are to resign from the House of Representatives on June 29.

Leader of Opposition Business in the House Phillip Paulwell announced yesterday that Simpson Miller and Dr Davies would both submit letters of intent to resign to Speaker of the House Pearnel Charles on June 29, effecting their formal resignation on the same day.

Paulwell noted that, in accordance with the nation’s laws, such resignation letters, once handed to the speaker, become immediately effective.

“Today we are witnessing the beginning of a historical changing of the guard, when two sitting members of adjoining constituencies shall simultaneously take their bow on June 29, 2017, and so we wish them good health and strength in their retirement years,” Paulwell said.

He added that, at a future date, Parliamentarians would pay tribute to both members, for their services to the people of Jamaica, the Parliament and the nation.

Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s only female prime minister, first held that post for 18 months, succeeding former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, who resigned during his third term in office in 2006.

She was defeated in September 2007 by the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), but retained the position after defeating current Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the JLP in December 2011. She took office in January 2012, and held it until February 2016 when she was defeated by Holness.

However, Simpson Miller, 72, has held onto the strongest PNP seat in the country, South Western St Andrew, since 1976, except for the four years the party boycotted Parliament between 1985 and 1989. She first won the seat in 1976, during the controversial state of emergency in which current Speaker of the House Pearnel Charles, who should have been the JLP’s candidate, was incarcerated at Up Park Camp during the state of emergency.

The JLP replaced Charles with BITU trade unionist Joseph McPherson, who lost by a huge margin. Simpson Miller last won the seat in February 2016, scoring 10 822 votes, or almost 94 per cent to her opponent’s 700 votes.

However, following calls from within her own party for her to step down as leader, Simpson Miller announced she would not seek re-election as leader on December 4, 2016. She was replaced by Peter Phillips, the shadow minister of finance and former rival, on March 26, 2017.

Dr Davies, who turned 70 on May 28, is an economist and a former radio media analyst. He first won the neighbouring South St Andrew seat (formerly Central St Andrew) in 1993 and had been minister of finance and planning up to the previous PNP Administration, when he was named minister of transport, works and housing, the post he held up to March 2016.

Like Simpson Miller, Dr Davies never lost an election there.

There has been no suggestion about how soon by-elections will be called by Prime Minister Holness after the resignations take effect, but it is very unlikely that either seat will be seriously challenged by the Government. (Jamaica Observer)


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