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TIME Magazine Top 100 Influential People in the World

TIME 100: The List

Portia Simpson Miller

Prime Minister of Jamaica

    By Yvette D. Clarke Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012


    Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

    Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller — or Sister P, as I affectionately call her — is the embodiment of perseverance and strength. She will have a profound impact as she strives to be a transformational figure in Jamaica.

    Portia, 66, started her career as a public servant in local government in 1974. Two years later she was elected to the Jamaican Parliament.

    In 2006 she made history, becoming the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of Jamaica. She was re-elected in December 2011. While she has worked for many years as a public servant representing all Jamaicans, there is a great sense that her leadership will expand far beyond her island nation. In addition to her call this year to break with the British monarchy and make the island a republic, Portia is promoting full civil rights for gays and lesbians, a courageous move in a country with a violent history of homophobia.

    I can say from personal experience that her presence is already inspiring a new generation of women, particularly from the Caribbean diaspora, to get involved in public service and to make a difference. Sister P is a woman to watch.

    Clarke is a Congresswoman for New York’s 11th District

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