Kingston, Jamaica (McKoy’s News) – Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller Departs: The Jamaican Parliament said goodbye to the country’s first female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, when they paid tribute to her on June 27, 2017, two days before her departure. The joint sitting of Parliament – involving both the House and the Senate – started at 2:00 pm at Gordon House, Duke Street in Kingston.
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 January 5, 2012, to March 3, 2016. She was the leader of the People’s National Party from 2006 to 2017 and the Leader of the Opposition twice, from 2007 to 2012 and from 2016 to 2017.
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 her first test as party leader when she lost to the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in September 2007. However, four years later she turned the tables on Golding’s successor Andrew Holness in December 2011.
While serving as Prime Minister, Simpson-Miller retained the positions of Minister of Defence, Development, Information and Sports. She has also served as Minister of Labour, Social Security and Sport, Minister of Tourism and Sports and Minister of Local Government throughout her political career. Following her second election win in December 2011, when her party defeated the Jamaica Labour Party, she became the second individual since independence to have served non-consecutive terms as Prime Minister, the first having been Michael Manley.
She was first elected to office as a councillor in the then Kingston and St Andrew Corporation in 1974, representing Trench Town West, the first time the PNP won that seat and was also first elected to Parliament in 1976 following a violent political battle, which included the detention of JLP candidate Pearnel Charles.
Portia Simpson Miller’s love for the poor has so far been the highlight of parliamentary tributes to the first female prime minister of Jamaica who retires from representational politics on Thursday, June 29, 2017.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness embraced the ‘son’ designation she gave him as he praised Simpson Miller for her focus on the disadvantaged. “There’s a lot to emulate from your leadership. The defense of the poor in society must never be left unattended. And you have been the voice that has kept governance focused on policies and programmes beneficial to the poor,” the prime minister said.
He said Simpson Miller is no ordinary woman who went up against powerful forces to earn her political respect. “We will miss your infectious smile, we will miss your trademark kiss, we will miss your quick sprints to the podium,” he said.
Dr. Peter Phillips, who recently replaced her as Opposition Leader and PNP president, said Simpson Miller’s rise from humble beginnings was a symbol of Jamaicans’ capacity to achieve. He twice went up against her for the leadership of the party and lost.
Meanwhile, Simpson Miller’s cousin and acting House Leader Everald Warmington, who opened the tributes noted that she was a “champion of the poor”. Members of Parliament from both sides paid tributes to Simpson Miller at the joint sitting.
Two of Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller’s tweets on June 27, 2017
My final presentation as Member of Parliament to a joint sitting of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament #ThankYouJA
I have had many significant accomplishments in my life but I am most proud of my relationship with the people of Jamaica. #ThankYouJA