Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, MP
Leader of the Opposition, Jamaica
Peter Phillips is a Jamaican politician, leader of the People's National Party, and Leader of the Opposition in Jamaica. He served as Minister of Finance and Planning of Jamaica from 2012 to 2016. He is Member of Parliament for East Central St Andrew.
Early life and education
Peter Phillips was born in Kingston to Mico Teachers' College lecturer Aubrey Sylvester Phillips and civil servant Thelma Limonius Phillips. Aubrey was himself a graduate of Mico, where he had roomed with Howard Cooke, who would later become Governor-General of Jamaica. Peter spent some of his infancy in Manchester Parish where both his mother's and father's parents lived, and still considers it home. He returned to Kingston and started pre-school there before moving to Saint Ann Parish where his father took up a new job as principal of Moneague Teachers' College.
He lived in the United Kingdom between ages six and nine while his father studied for a PhD there, and then returned to Jamaica.
Phillips holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics, a Master's in Government, and a Doctorate in International Political Economy and Development Studies.
Phillips first entered parliament as a senator when the People's National Party (PNP) won the 1989 General Election by a landslide. He served as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister during that period up until 1991. In 1991, He was then elevated to PNP General Secretary and Minister of Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister until 1994.
In 1994, he was elected member of parliament of the constituency East Central St Andrew, which he is still representing in parliament since then. He was appointed Minister of Health from 1995 to 1997 where he modernized the health system in preparation for the 21st century.
In 1998, he was appointed Minister of Transport and Works. He had great success in reorganizing the transport system in the Corporate Area and in the rehabilitation and improvement of the road network across the island.
He was elected a vice president of the People's National Party in 1999 serving with Portia Simpson Miller. He was appointed Minister of National Security where he had significant success in reducing illegal narcotic flows through Jamaica and led a reform effort for Jamaica’s security forces.
He twice unsuccessfully ran for President of the PNP in 2006 and 2008. After his party loss the 2007 election, Phillips helped his party deliver a 2-1 victory over the Jamaica Labour Party where Portia Simpson Miller selected him to be her Minister of Finance and Public Service. His tenure as Finance Minister saw Jamaica's economy being placed back on stability after the recession in 2008.
The People's National Party lost the 2016 election and he was elected President of the PNP succeeding Portia Simpson Miller in 2017. On 3 April 2017, he was appointed Leader of the Opposition.