The Most Honourable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller O.N., M.P. first became Jamaica’s seventh Prime Minister in March 2006 and was conferred with the Order of the Nation in May 2006.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller’s ascension to Jamaica’s highest political office, came after having served for 17 years as a Cabinet Minister with portfolio responsibility for Labour, Social Security and Sport; Tourism, Entertainment and Sport; and Local Government, Community Development and Sport. Mrs. Simpson Miller has also had portfolio responsibilities for Women’s Affairs.
In December 2011, the Portia Simpson Miller-led People’s National Party was returned to government following a resounding victory in the General Elections. On January 5, 2012, Mrs. Simpson Miller was sworn in as Prime Minister of Jamaica for the second time. As Prime Minister, she currently has Ministerial oversight of Information, Development, Sport, Women’s Affairs and Defense.
Mrs. Simpson Miller has a distinguished record of service at the regional and international levels. The Public Administrator is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, which is an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize on women’s issues.
During her career as a senior public administrator, she has served as vice president of the Organization of American States’ High-level Inter-American Network on Decentralization, Local Government and Citizen Participation; Chairperson of the Caribbean Forum of Ministers responsible for decentralization, local government, community development and citizen participation, and board member of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.
She has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of CIFAL, which is an international training centre for governmental authorities in Atlanta, Georgia. Most recently, in 2011 she was appointed by the UN Secretary General, to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). She also chairs the CARICOM Committee on External Trade.
Amongst her many achievements:
- Mrs. Simpson Miller was the leading architect of Jamaica’s Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development, the Honourable Prime Minister has been tireless in promoting and strengthening urban renewal and community development, leading to fundamental reforms in local government.
- As Minister of Labour, Welfare and Sport, she presided over the significant expansion of Jamaica’s Overseas Work Programme and under her watch.
- The National Insurance Scheme was transformed into a major component of the government’s social protection system.
- She was also instrumental in establishing a Labour Chair in the University of the West Indies, Department of Government.
- The Municipality of Portmore in the parish of St Catherine was established while she had Ministerial oversight of the Local Government Portfolio
Accordingly, as both minister and as Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller has received several local and international awards and accolades:
- In March 2007, she was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s World Women and Sport Trophy for outstanding dedication to women in Jamaican Sports – both athletes and administrators.
- In 2009 she received the Distinguished Award for her dedication and commitment to urban renewal and community development from the Mayor, City of Miami.
- She also received the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of women’s affairs in Jamaica.
Mrs. Simpson Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration, and also Certificates in Public Relations and Advanced Management from the Union Institute and University of Cincinnati, Ohio. She also completed the Executive Programme for Leaders in Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Prime Minister Simpson Miller was awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Union Institute and a Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the Northern Caribbean University.