Jamaica says goodbye to its first female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, after serving 43 years in politics. Mrs. Simpson Miller assumed her first public role as councillor in the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation in the beginning of her career.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has hailed former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, for her many contributions to politics and to the people of Jamaica.
Born Portia Lucretia Simpson in Woodhall, St Catherine, on December 12, 1945, the 72-year-old politician served as Prime Minister from March 2006 to September 2007, and again from 2012 to 2016.
She was named prime minister after PJ Patterson retired and she won a decisive victory as president of the then ruling People’s National Party (PNP) in 2006. She failed in her first test as party leader when she lost to the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in September 2007.
While serving as prime minister, Simpson-Miller retained the positions of minister of defence, development, information and sports. She also served as minister of labour, social security and sport, minister of tourism and sports and minister of local government, earlier in her political career.
“It has been quite a journey. I have endured it all — the ridicule, the victories, and defeats. But I have stood tall and remained focused,” Simpson Miller said. “I have consistently been able to do so out of the fundamental belief that good will always overcome evil.”
“I am proud of my record of representation of the people of St Andrew South Western,” Simpson Miller said. She has been criticised for the level of development in the area especially given the length of her representation.
“I inherited a constituency with poor and inadequate housing, poor or no public infrastructure, poor health-care facilities, and limited access to special services,” she said, adding that the election of 1976 saw her “thrown into the deep enduring a period of extreme political violence”.
“Many have commented about my legacy in recent weeks. While there are many significant things that I can point to and say, I did that, the legacy I am most proud of is my relationship with the people of Jamaica.”
Simpson Miller and her former finance minister, Dr Omar Davies, are scheduled to hand in their resignations to Speaker Charles, this Thursday