KINGSTON, Jamaica Sunday March 26, 2017 :- Former Finance minister Dr. Peter Phillips was affirmed as president of the opposition Peoples National Party at a special delegates conference inside the National Arena here Sunday.
He replaces the popular Portia Simpson – Miller, the first woman to lead the party and who went on to become the only female prime minister of Jamaica. Phillips who previously lost two internal elections to Simpson – Miller for the party’s top position, becomes the fifth person — after its founder Norman W. Manley, Michael N. Manley, Percival J. Patterson and Simpson – Miller to lead the party.
He told the throng of cheering delegates that “the mission of this generation of the party, will have to fix and eliminate poverty. We want prosperity for all Jamaica, not just for the privileged minority,” he said.
Known for his success in getting things done, Phillips also served as National Security and Transportation minister in previous governments of his Peoples’ National Party.As finance minister he was credited for astutely steering the country through a four year International Momentary Fund Agreement that many felt has laid the foundation for sustainable growth of the Jamaican economy. His party lost a close election race — by a one seat margin — to the governing Jamaica Labour Party, just over a year ago.
He promised to “once and for all address the issue of squatting,” if his party is returned to government as he argued that the system is responsible for crime. As she passed the mantle of leadership to her one time rival, Simpson – Miller urged her supporters to “support Phillips.” “He is going to need your support,” she said. Chairman of the Party Robert Pickersgill also urged support for the new Party boss, while Patterson assured him that “you will not be alone as you take on this responsibility.” Phillips is set to become opposition leader on April 2 when Simpson-Miller relinquishes that post.