Portia Simpson-Miller was born on December 12, 1945 with the full given name, Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller. She served as the eighth Prime Minister of Jamaica from March of 2006 to September of 2007 and also served a second term from January 5, 2012 to March 3, 2016. She is a former leader of The People’s National Party. She lead the organization from 2005 to 2017 and she also lead the opposition twice. She was the leader of the opposition from 2007-2012 and from 2016 to 2017. She was the first female Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Simpson-Miller opted to retain the positions of Minister of Defence, Development, Information and Sports. She has also had the responsibilities of being served as head of the ministries of Labour, Social Security and Sports, Tourism and Sports and the Minister of Local Government throughout her political career. Portia became the second Prime Minister to serve none consecutive terms after her election victory over The Jamaica Labour Party in 2011. The only other Prime Minister to do this was Michael Manley.
Portia attended the Union Institute & University of Cincinnati, Ohio where she earned her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Public Administration. Simpson-Miller is also the owner of many certificates due to the many leadership courses that she has taken. She has taken leadership based courses at schools like Harvard University. The former Prime Minister was awarded Honorary Doctorates in the fields of Humane Letters and in Public Service at the Union Institute and Northern Caribbean University, respectively.
Portia Simpson-Miller and her history at the poles
Portia became the eighth Prime Minister of Jamaica after the retirement of Percival James Paterson who was the Leader of the PNP and the seventh Prime Minister of Jamaica, at the time. After the retirement of P.J Paterson an election was held within the PNP to select their new leader and that leader would also be the one to inherit the tittle of Prime Minister. In the 2005 PNP leadership elections was Portia Simpson-Miller, Omar Davies and Peter Phillips were the 3 candidates . The race was hotly contested but Simpson-Miller would emerge as the eventual winner.
She would later inherit the posts of leader of the PNP and Prime Minister in 2006. She would eventually lose the 2007 election to the JLP leader, Bruce Golding. Journalists conducted many public interviews after the election but the answer to the reason why Simpson-Miller lost the election seemed to be the same. People were saying that it was because they believed that it was time for a change of leadership. Portia would assume the position as opposition leader until the next general election, which was held in 2011. She would once again become the Prime Minister of Jamaica on January 5, 2012.
Portia’s Political history
Portia Simpson-Miller was first elected to the Parliament of Jamaica in 1976. She was elected to represent the constituency of South West St. Andrew as a member of the PNP. The PNP would later boycott the 1983 general elections. Portia would later re-elected when the elections when elections were eventually help, in 1989 she was selected to assume the post as the Minister of Labour and Welfare. She would head the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Sports until 1993.
She was the Minister of Labour and Welfare from 1993 to 1995, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Sports from 1995 to February 2000 ,Minister of Tourism and Sports from February 2000 to October 2002 and Minister of Local Government and Sport since October 2002. She was Vice President of the PNP from 1978 to 2006. She was elected as PNP leader on the 26 of February 26, 2006. She won the election with a total of 47% of the delegates voting for her which made her the first PNP president to win the election with under 50% of the eligible delegates voting. she replaced P.J Paterson as Prime Minister on March 30, 2006.
In July of 2008 Simpson-Miller was once again challenged for leadership of the PNP by Peter Phillips. The delegates of the party voted in favour of Portia and she wold once again assume her position as leader of the PNP. She was the opposition leader during this internal election. The PNP would win the next election because the people of Jamaica liked the changes that were implemented to the policies of the PNP.
Portia’s Political Views
Portia is known to be a strong supporter of Jamaican Republicanism and is one of the first leaders to endorse the replacement of the Queen with an elected President. She reportedly made the pledge to transform Jamaica into a republic during the Jamaica planning and celebrations. She had contradicting views during her first term in office. Portia was the first head of government in Jamaican history to openly endorse civil rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender citizens. She made these endorsements during and election campaign.
Portia Simpson-Miller stated that she was open to giving homosexuals positions under her government as long as they work hard and are qualified enough to carry out their duties. She stated that equality within a nation is of utmost importance. She is a very strong believer in equality of the highest standard.
Portia Simpson married Errald Miller in 1998. He is a Business executive and former CEO of Cable & Wireless Jamaica LTD. She was vested with the Order of Nation in 2006, which gave her and her husband the tittle of “The Most Honourable”. Simpson-Miller is also affectionately called ‘Sista P’ or ‘Mama P’.
Portia is a very jovial and fun loving person who is sometimes known for getting a bit feisty whenever she is criticized or “drawn out” by her fellow politicians. She always greets the people that she meets with a smile and a kiss on the cheeks. Her best quality is that she is always a person who listens to the citizens of the country.
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