Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Jamaica, land we love

In the last couple of months I've often made particular notice of women leaders coming to power. But of course coming to power is only one side of the equation. Being kicked out of power is all part of the equality game, too!

Just ask Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, who was booted from office in an election yesterday.

Jamaica, many people are surprised to learn, used to have white Prime Ministers until very recently. See, check out this gallery (click to enlarge):


Mr. Patterson was the first black PM, and ruled the longest as well, from 1992 to 2006. When he resigned, his political party, the People's National Party, appointed Ms. Simpson-Miller, a longtime cabinet minister, to replace him as leader of the PNP, and thus automatically PM as well.

The new female PM was initially popular, but her party has been power for such a long time that people are starting to get sick of it. The election results now say that the PNP and Ms. Simpson-Miller have very narrowly gone down to defeat. The PNP only won 28 seats in the 60-seat parliament, while the opposition party, Labour, won 32.

The leader of the Labour Party will now become Prime Minister, in conjunction with the British parliamentary protocol Jamaica follows. His name is Bruce Golding and he's been in the political scene for a while now. Jamaica, much like the United States, has a rather rigid two-party system. Mr. Golding is perhaps best known for trying to found a third party to break the deadlock. But that failed, of course, so in 2005 he decided to just take over the Labour Party and became its new leader (the first black to lead that party too, I should note).

He remains a reformist at heart, though, and during the election he promised to make all sorts of dramatic revisions to the Jamaican parliamentary system in order to make it more accountable and democratic. As a fan of parliamentary reform, I am keen to see how well he is able to make out.

7 comments:

hoshie said...

I now wonder in the change in Gov't means that Jamaica could become a Republic? Also, their electoral process makes Florida or Ohio look like Disneyland!

Nicolae_Adnescu said...

Thought Hugh Sherer was the first black PM???? where is he on the list

Nicolae_Adnescu said...

Thought Hugh Sherer was the first black PM???? where is he on the list

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