JIS News

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, P.J. Patterson, has expressed his confidence in the ability of his successor, Portia Simpson Miller to steer the country to “new levels of economic growth and upward social mobility” stating that the “foundations have been well and truly laid”.
“I am certain the baton has been securely passed for the next leg of the relay with our team.continuing to run in the lane to which history has assigned us. It is that same lane in which we started the race in 1938,” Mr. Patterson told the thousands of persons, who gathered at King’s House yesterday (March 30), to witness the historic swearing in ceremony of Mrs. Simpson Miller as the nation’s seventh and first female Prime Minister.
The ceremony was presided over Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall.The statesman told the gathering that he was “particularly gratified” that the change of leadership was effected in a “seamless and transparent process” without “confusion and chaos.thereby enhancing the best and most wholesome of our political traditions.”
Patriotic to the last, Mr. Patterson said Jamaica remained “a country with a proud and growing record of achievements in the fields of investment creation, the creative arts, international diplomacy, industrial relations, sports and community development”, adding that Prime Minister Simpson Miller had played a critical role in many of the areas.
In a move that was appreciated by the crowd, Mr. Patterson pledged his support to the new Prime Minister. “Portia, as you were there for me in the assent to political leadership in my party and subsequently my country, I will always be there for you, if you should so require, whenever and wherever,” he stated.
By sunset yesterday, Portia Simpson-Miller was etched in the annals of Jamaica’ history, as the nation’s first female Prime Minister, 32 years after entering representational politics.
She served as Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport since October 2002; Minister of Tourism and Sports from February 2000 to October 2002; Minister of Labour, Social Security and Sports from 1995 to February 2000; Minister of Labour and Welfare from 1993 to 1995; Minister of Labour, Welfare and Sports from 1989 to 1993; and has been a vice president of the People’s National Party since 1978.
She has served as member of parliament for South West St. Andrew since 1976.
Among those who witnessed the historic swearing in ceremony were: former Prime Minister P.J Patterson; former Leader of the Opposition Edward Seaga and wife Carla; Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning; Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Arthur; Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; Chief Minister of Turks and Caicos Islands, Michael Misick; representatives of the United States congress; members of parliament; members of the diplomatic corps and other dignitaries.