Jamaica's new opposition leader sworn in
By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — New president of the People’s National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips, was sworn in on Monday as Jamaica’s leader of the opposition.
He was presented with the instrument of appointment by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen.
The ceremony was attended by members of the parliamentary opposition; former leader of the opposition, Portia Simpson Miller; Phillips’ wife, attorney-at-law Sandra Minott-Phillips, and other family members.
In his remarks, the governor-general said the leader of the opposition exercises significant influence and authority.
“He has to lead a team conscious of the inescapable obligation to ensure that the laws and regulations which are introduced and passed are in the best interest of the citizens,” he said.
The governor-general noted that the opposition leader, in leading by example, has an opportunity to demonstrate that the national interest includes not only responsible reasons and defensible criticisms in the course of a debate, but statesmanlike conduct and tone in handling the nation’s business in Parliament.
He said Phillips is a serious student of the political history of Jamaica, “and for that reason, can be expected to benefit from that knowledge as well as from his own years of experience as he takes up this new role”.
“Jamaica will fulfil its true potential when, as leaders, as families and individuals we focus our strength, our resilience and our capacity to care for one another and show the world that we are truly out of many one people under God,” the governor-general said.
In his response, Phillips thanked the governor-general for his kind remarks and for reminding him of the “weighty constitutional responsibilities which are demanded and expected of the holder of this office”.
“I want to assure you, and through you to the country, that we are here primarily to serve the interest of the people of Jamaica and to respect the constitution of Jamaica, and to uphold the laws and good governance of our country,” Phillips said.
He paid tribute to former leader of the opposition, Simpson Miller, for her support during the transition process.
Phillips is a graduate of Jamaica College and earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Science in Government from the University of the West Indies.
He also completed doctoral studies in International Political Economy at the State University of New York at Binghamton.