Percival James Patterson was President of the Jamaican People’s National Party and served as the country’s sixth Prime Minister from 1992 to 2006.
Patterson was born in Jamaica in 1935. He graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI), with a B.A. (Honours) in English in 1958. In 1963, he graduated from LSE with an LLB. Whilst studying here, he won the Sir Hughes Parry prize for Excellence in the Law of Contracts.
His involvement in politics stemmed from his university days at UWI, where he was one of the founders of the Political Club. Whilst taking part in a UWI project, he came into contact with prominent members of the People’s National Party (PNP). He made his first appearance as a speaker on political platforms in the election campaign for the candidate for Western Hanover. According to the National Library of Jamaica, his political involvement soon took precedence over other interests in his life.
Mr Patterson’s cabinet career in Jamaica began in 1972, when he was appointed as Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism. He later served as Deputy Prime Minister and minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (1978-1980); Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development, Planning and Production (1989-1990) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Planning (1990-1991).
Following his election as President of the PNP in 1992, he was appointed the sixth Prime Minister of Jamaica the same year. One of his key achievements as Prime Minister was his decision to ensure education was a main priority. His government invested in modernising Jamaica’s infrastructure and restructuring the country’s financial sector.
Image courtesy of the Jamaica Information Service.