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Portia Simpson Miller bio

Sunday, February 26, 2006    

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Born: December 12, 1945 at Wood Hall, St Catherine

Age: 60

Educated at: St Martin's High School; Union Institute and University of Miami, Florida (BA Public Administration); Jamaica Institute of Management/University of California, Berkeley (certificate in Advanced Management); Harvard (Executive Programme for Leaders in Development at the John F Kennedy School of Government).

Awarded honorary doctorate by Union Institute and University for her 'enduring efforts to improve the quality of life for all Jamaican citizens regardless of race, class, colour or creed'.

Family/Interests: Married to businessman, Errald Miller, a former telecoms executive with Cable & Wireless Jamaica; enjoys reading, music, boxing and horseback riding.

Career in politics: Has spanned three and a half decades; KSAC councillor in the early 1970s; then Member of Parliament for South West St Andrew since 1976; vice president of the PNP since 1978; and president, PNP Women's Movement since 1983.

Has consistently topped opinion polls as Jamaica's most beloved political personality for many years but has had to beat back detractors inside and outside her party who claim she lacks the requisite intellectual and social credits to lead the country.

Career in government: Has included several Cabinet portfolios. As minister of Labour, Welfare and Sport, developed new Overseas Recruitment Centre, created National Insurance Fund, established chair in Labour Studies at the University of the West Indies, presided over long period of harmonious relations between employers, workers and trade unions, established National Council on the Aged; Minister of Tourism and Sport; and Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport - currently establishing a sports medicine and treatment facility for injured athletes; has had responsibility for the Women's portfolio.

Undertakes international assignments on local government for the Organisation of American States (OAS); is chair of the Caribbean Forum of Ministers Responsible for Decentralisation, Local Government, Community Development and Citizen Participation; board member of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

Political platform

Her campaign had focused on themes of empowerment for the marginalised, especially the poor, and uniting all classes to tackle deeprooted problems of crime and economic underdevelopment.

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