Her Excellency Simpson-Miller was sworn in on March 30, 2006 as Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister. She served in this post from March 2006 to September 2007 and again from January 2012 to March 2016. She was also the leader of the People’s National Party from 2005 to 2017 and the Leader of the Opposition from 2007 to 2012, and then again from 2016 to 2017.
Portia Simpson-Miller was born on December 12, 1945 in the rural community of Wood Hall, St. Catherine. She received her formal education at the Marlie Hill Primary School; the former St. Martin’s High School and Jamaica Commercial Institute. Mrs. Simpson-Miller also received a Degree in Public Administration from the Union Institute of Miami. Several years later, in 2002 the Institute conferred upon Mrs. Simpson-Miller the degree of Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. The award of this honorary degree was quite significant as Mrs. Simpson-Miller is the first graduate to have received the Institute’s honorary degree. In addition, Mrs. Simpson Miller holds a certificate in Advanced Management from the University of California at Berkeley and a certificate in Public Relations and Advanced Management from the Institute of Management and Production, Jamaica.
Mrs. Simpson-Miller’s career in representational politics began in 1974 when she was asked to represent the People’s National Party in the Municipal elections of 1974 representing the Trench Town area. Mrs. Simpson-Miller’s surprising success in the Municipal elections made way for her to be nominated as a candidate for the general elections. This was also another success story with her winning in both the 1976 and 1980 general elections. She has also been Member of Parliament for South-West St. Andrew since 1989. Mrs. Simpson Miller has served in several areas of the People’s National Party: Councilor in the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (1974), Member of Parliament for South-West St. Andrew (1976), Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and in the Office of the Prime Minister (1977), PNP Vice President (1978), President of the Women’s Movement of the PNP (1983), Minister of Labour, Social Security and Sport (1989), Minister of Tourism and Sport (2000), and Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport (2002).
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.
In 2011, Her Excellency was named Person of the Year by The Gleaner and Observer in the Gleaner awards. In 2012, she was ranked by Time Magazine as one of its “100 Most Influential Persons in the World.”