Jamaica: Former PM Portia Simpson-Miller steps down

Former Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller

Simpson-Miller had served as Jamaica’s Prime Minister on two occasions

Less than a year after she led the People’s National Party (PNP) into defeat in the general elections, Portia Simpson-Miller, is stepping down a few days shy of her 71st birthday.

Simpson-Miller, who served as Jamaica’s Prime Minister on 2 occasions, told the PNP National Executive Council meeting on Sunday “I will leave you as party leader but I will always be with you”.

Simpson-Miller had resisted calls for her to step down after she led the then ruling PNP into defeat in the February 25 general election that saw Andrew Holness return to the helm of government for a second time.

She is expected to step down by next September when the party holds its election.

The youth arm of the party, Peoples National Party Youth Organization (PNPYO), had called for her resignation, saying there was need for a change in the political vision.

Former president of the Senate, Floyd Morris, said that Simpson-Miller, who first became prime minister in 2007 when then leader P.J. Patterson bowed out of politics, was forced out by persons she brought into the party.

“It hurt my heart to see how the Comrade leader was treated, even by some of the people she brought into this movement,” he told the National Executive Council.

Morris said Simpson-Miller had indicated that she would steer the party through last Monday’s local government elections, which the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) won.
“We should never have treated her that way. All we had to do was wait,” he said adding “I feel it to the bottom of my heart”.

Outgoing PNP General Secretary Paul Burke, saying the party under Simpson-Miller had “stood in the gap for this movement.”

Source: Reuters