Portia Simpson-Miller has been elected as the president of Jamaica’s ruling People’s National Party (PNP) and will in a few weeks be the first female Prime Minister of Jamaica as the current prime minister PJ Patterson leaves office after over ten years at the helm of the PNP.
Mrs Miller received 1,775 votes to clinch victory from her closest opposition and bitter rival Dr Peter Phillips who polled 1,538 votes. The Dr Phillips’ campaign team has for weeks directly and indirectly attacked the Simpson-Miller camp but Mrs Miller surprisingly did not retaliate and showed surprisingly good self control for someone who is known to come across as aggressive at times when flustered.
The teams of Dr Omar Davis and Dr Karl Blythe came in a distant third and forth with 283 and 204 votes respectively, which came as little surprise as they did not have the massive island wide support of the top two candidates.
Simpson-Miller had been the Minister of Local Government and Sport since October 2002. She had previously been Minister of Labour, Welfare and Sports from 1989 to 1993, when she first entered parliament for South West St. Andrew. She was Minister of Labour and Welfare from 1993 to 1995, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Sports from 1995 to February 2000 and Minister of Tourism and Sports from February 2000 to October 2002. She has also been a Vice President of the PNP since 1978.
Simpson-Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from the Union Institute. She is married to Errald Miller, formerly CEO of Cable and Wireless Limited.