Simpson-Miller, Portia

Simpson-Miller, Portia, 1945–, Jamaican political leader, prime minister of Jamaica (2006–7, 2012–16). A member of the People's National party (PNP), she was first elected to parliament in 1976. After the PNP returned to power in 1989, she held a variety of ministerial portfolios, including sport (1989–93, 1995–2006), labor and welfare (1989–2000; labor and social security after 1995), tourism (2000–2002), and local government (2002–6). A popular figure, she was elected leader of the PNP in 2006 and shortly thereafter succeeded the retiring P. J. Patterson as prime minister, becoming the first woman to head Jamaica's government. The following year, however, the PNP narrowly lost control of parliament. Simpson-Miller and the PNP returned to power in 2012 after winning the Dec., 2011, elections. Her government adopted austerity measures to secure (2013) IMF aid in reducing Jamaica's debt, and in 2016 the PNP again lost control of parliament. She stepped down as PNP leader and then from politics in 2017.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: West Indian History, British: Biographies