Dr. Peter David Phillips was elected President of People’s National Party (PNP) on Sunday, March 26, 2017 and was sworn in as Leader of the Opposition on April 2, 2017.
These appointments to public service in Jamaica are the most recent in his distinguished career spanning government, politics and academia.
Dr. Phillips, the Member of Parliament for the constituency of East Central St. Andrew since 1994, and a former Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, has served the people of Jamaica in several ministerial positions.
As Minister of Finance and Planning from 2012 to 2016 he is credited with having presided over the most fundamental positive reform of the Jamaica economy. With international benchmarks monitored by an invited national broad-based oversight group, the Economic Reform Programme he led lowered the national debt as a prerequisite for economic growth and sustainable development. At the same time it ensured a robust system of social protection for the most vulnerable people.
In recognition of his game-changing stewardship of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dr. Phillips received the 2015 Man of the Year award by the Gleaner newspaper bestowed for exemplary public service. His achievements were reflected in positive economic indicators for Jamaica including inflation at a 48-year low, high levels of business and consumer confidence, improved credit ratings and significant advances in the global ease of doing business rankings to being the top country in the Caribbean for doing business in 2015.
During his tenure as Minister of National Security (2001-2007), Jamaica recorded huge successes in reducing illegal narcotic flows and saw significant reform and modernisation of the Security Forces. Dr. Phillips holds firmly to view that national security can never be based on the curtailment of fundamental human rights of the people or the exercise of violence by the state.
While serving as Minister of Transport and Works from 1998 to 2001 Dr. Phillips brought great courage, thought and ability to tackling the intractable challenge of reorganizing and bringing order to the transport system in the corporate area while improving service islandwide. The creation of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), the introduction of a regulated route taxi system, along with the rehabilitation of the road network across the island were among the major successes of that period.
Dr. Phillips was Minister of Health between 1995 and 1997 and in that capacity led the comprehensive reform of the health system, ensured the expansion and upgrading of several hospitals and introduced the Drug for the Elderly Programme to subside medication for seniors.
In his role as Minister of Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994, he led the Caribbean Community teams for major trade negotiations including with the United States and Venezuela.
Dr. Phillips’ work has been outstanding since his first appointment in Government. As aSenator and Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister between 1989 and 1991 he spearheaded the privatisation efforts of the Government including developing the framework for airports divestment, and chaired the taskforce responsible for the development of more than 20,000 homes and social amenities in the Greater Portmore Community. During this assignment he also developed policy for micro lending, project financing in constituencies, and laid the foundations for a major land and housing programme.
A graduate of Jamaica College, Dr. Peter Phillips earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a Master of Science degree in Government from the University of the West Indies. He is a Ford Foundation Fellow and completed doctoral studies in International Political Economy at The State University of New York at Binghamton. He was also a Fulbright Scholar and has done studies at the University of Florida at Gainesville.
These qualifications led him to a distinguished career in academia prior to entering Parliament. In his teaching career he was Lecturer in the Department of Government and at the Consortium Graduate School at the University of the West Indies, Mona. During that time he published extensively on Caribbean development issues.
Dr. Phillips served the People’s National Party as Vice President from 1999 to 2008 and as General Secretary between 1991 and 1994.
Peter Phillips is married to Sandra Minott Phillips and is the father of daughters Tsahai and Ruth and sons Mikael, David, Luke and Jacob.