When I first heard that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller would be inducted in the International Women’s Forum (IWF) Hall of Fame, the first thing that I uttered (and sadly so) was, “For what?” Friends, it was an honest question. I wasn’t clear as to the criteria for the award, and when I saw what they were my next (equally honest) response was “But…how?”
I didn’t get it. And to this point I’m still wondering what I have missed. Please, before the choir starts singing their latest rendition of “Bun Badmind” and the like, let me say this: to have become Jamaica’s first female PM is quite an accomplishment, and should be acknowledged for the achievement that it is. The problem I have, however, is that the conversation tends to stop there. I have said it in a elsewhere, and I’ll say it here: Women did not push to break the glass ceiling just to settle for being mediocre.
It is reported that the award “pays tribute to the impact that women of courage, creativity and passion have made towards improving society and inspiring others” (Jamaica Gleaner, October 17, 2013). How has Jamaica improved as a nation under the leadership of Mrs. Simpson Miller? To what extent, exactly, have we been inspired? Too vague?
Okay, quite simply then – what are we proud of? Is it the dollar that is JMD$105.16:USD$1 (at this moment, because it will change again tomorrow. #Unstable)? Hmmm? Is it the stench of alleged political impropriety that currently plagues members of the PM’s party (herself included *cough* TRAFIGURA *cough* – #DontAskMe)? Is it the jalopy called “JEEP”, or its underdeveloped cousin “JE” (Jamaica Employ)? Is it the plummeting consumer and business confidence? It’s not the 16.3% unemployment, is it (story here)? Or is it her “coy way of dealing with the media” (read: silence). Perhaps it is her regard for those whom she was elected to serve, choosing to speak to them only if it is “absolutely necessary”. (Ugh! Minions! *rolls eyes*) Oh! You know what it is? It HAS to be Jamaicans’ new exotic palette for delicacies such as mongoose and (endangered) crocodiles. Or maybe, just maybe it’s for her advocacy for gay rights, as this video tells us…
Or maybe not. :-/
Speaking of which – remember that TIME Magazine “People of the Year” award? As it turned out, sometime in May 2012 the PM’s press secretary Lincoln Robinson suggested that the premise for which the PM was nominated “did not accurately reflect the prime minister’s response on the issue during the leadership debate prior to the December 29, 2011 general election.” You may find the story here.
So…there’s also that.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this isn’t another case of the statement not “accurately [reflecting]” the PM’s intent, response, dream, wish, desire, leadership capabilities…
But then again…
And as I write I’m really trying to think of what her legacy will be. What will it be???
Jamaica, YOU be the judge.
– @MizDurie, @THINKJamaica
#THINKJamaica #AreYouProudMadamPM #IWF2013