Jamaica. In April, the new leader of the People’s National Party (PNP), Peter Phillips, was sworn into the post of formal leader of the opposition in parliament. He replaced former Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, both as party leader and opposition leader. The post of opposition leader goes to the leader of the largest party in parliament who is not in office. According to Countryaah.com, 72-year-old Simpson-Miller chose to leave politics and held his last speech in parliament in June. She became the country’s first prime minister in 2006 and was the head of government twice, in 2006–07 and in 2012–16. Following the 2016 election loss, many within the PNP demanded that she step down as party leader, which she did in March 2017.
The increasingly important tourism industry continued to grow during the year and the government announced a commitment to the port of Ocho Rios on the island’s northern coast. According to a statement by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett in April, US $ 14 million had been set aside to make the port ready to receive really large cruise ships.