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- “Working for the People – Protecting the Gains” – The Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller O.N, M.P Leader of the Opposition
The Most Honourable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller O.N., M.P. became Jamaica’s seventh Prime Minister in March 2006 and was conferred with the Order of the Nation in May 2006.
Mrs. 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,
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 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. 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.
- 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
Mrs. 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. She was awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Union Institute and a Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the Northern Caribbean University.