KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 6, 2016 (CMC) – Former finance minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, who on two occasions failed to win the presidency of the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP), says he will be throwing his hat in the ring to replace Portia Simpson Miller, who announced her decision to step down on Sunday.
Simpson Miller, who turns 71, later this month, announced her decision not to seek re-election when the party holds its elections next September. She had been under constant pressure to step down after leading the then ruling party into defeat in the February 25 general election.
She told the National Executive Council that earlier this year, she had signalled to the party “that I wanted to see us through the local government elections.
“There was a reason for that. I never wanted a new leader of this movement to commence their term with an election loss, which we expected in the local government elections. I wanted to give that person a clean slate on which to build.
Phillip, who served as finance minister in Simpson-Miller’s administration, told RJR radio that “certainly, when the arrangements are in place for elections to be held for the presidency of the party, I intend to offer myself”, noting that it was also important to recognise and pay service to Simpson Miller, who led the party after PJ Patterson bowed out of politics in 2007.
Phillips had challenged Simpson Miller for the post in 2008, but he remained one of the most influential members of the PNP, in and out of government.