Jamaica’s ninth and youngest leader, 39 year old Andrew Holness, was sworn in as prime minister
yesterday afternoon in an elegant and sober ceremony on the lawns of King’s House, the residence of the Queen’s representative, the Governor-General His Excellency the Most Honorable Sir Patrick Allen.
Prime Minister Holness takes over from Bruce Golding, who was forced to demit office following his handling last year of the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, a local drug lord. Coke was wanted in the U.S. on charges of drug and weapons smuggling. He was eventually extradited but not before violence broke out in Tivoli Gardens, the area in Kingston that he controlled and more than 70 people lost their lives. The Coke affair strained relations between Washington and Kingston.
In August this year, Coke pleaded guilty in New York to racketeering and conspiracy. He will be sentenced in December to 23 years in prison.
Golding’s decision to leave office a year before his 5-year term would have ended, has been hailed by many as the right thing to do as the country had lost confidence in him. In addition, with him at the helm, the ruling Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) would have surely lost the election to the opposition People’s National Party (PNP).
Much is expected from the new prime minister who was born in 1972 ten years after Jamaica won her independence from Britain.
In a wide-ranging speech following his swearing in, Holness said he was taking responsibility for the running of the country. Referring to the country’s massive debt burden, he said Jamaica could not continue on the path of borrowing more than it produces. The new prime minister urged fellow politicians to transcend petty, mean spirited, “tear down politics.”
Prime Minister Holness ended his hour-long speech with Mother Theresa’s version of the Paradoxical Commandments, which, he said he tries to live by.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.