Jul 03, 2009 News
Former Jamaican Prime Minister, Percival J. Patterson, was last evening bestowed with Caricom’s highest award, the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC).
The honour is in recognition of Pattersons’s outstanding contribution in the area of the Region’s External Trade Relations and in fostering relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) especially in its formative years.
Patterson, familiarly known as P.J, was born on April 10, 1935 in St. Andrew, Jamaica and was the longest serving Prime Minister of this CARICOM Member State, serving from the period 1992- 2006.
His political career was built on a solid base in the legal profession having studied law and being called to the Bar in England.
On his return, he became an active member of the People’s National Party (PNP) and began his career in cabinet as Minister of Tourism in 1972 and rose to become the Deputy Prime Minister to Prime Minister Michael Manley in 1989.
In 1992, Patterson was elected by the people of Jamaica as their Prime Minister and was re-elected three times.
He received his secondary education at Calabar High School and is a product of the University of the West Indies, where he pursued a Bachelor’s degree at the Mona Campus, Jamaica.
He then headed to the London School of Economics following which he enrolled at the Inns of Court (Middle Temple) where he came in contact with a number of future leaders of the countries of the developing world who were fellow students in England.
As the President of the ACP/EU Ministerial Council he led negotiations for the ACP group of countries with the European Community.
He played a pivotal role in forging an agreement on the basic framework for the original Lomé Convention, which influenced the outcome of subsequent negotiations that led to the Convention signed in 1975.
Patterson served as President and Spokesman of the ACP Ministerial Council on a number of occasions.
These have helped to shape north-south relationship and influence the negotiating position of developing countries.
He is a member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an NGO Composed of a number of former statesmen, ex-presidents and Prime Ministers founded in 2004 by former State President of South Africa and Nobel Prize laureate F.W. de Klerk.
His outstanding career as political leader, integrationist, trade unionist and advocate for social reform has been rewarded with several high honours including the Order of Merit of Jamaica, the United Nations Gold Medal for his advocacy against apartheid, and the Joliot Curie Peace Award of the World Peace Council.
Upon becoming the Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1992, Patterson was invested with the Order of the Nation allowing him to be known as ‘The Most Honourable’ and to use the post-nominal letters ‘O.N.’
In 2006 he was invested with the Order of Excellence of Guyana allowing him to use the post nominal letters ‘O.E.’
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