Monday, 24 October 2011

TALLAWAH MOMENT: Hon. Andrew Holness becomes Jamaica’s 9th and youngest head of government

MEASURE OF A MAN: Holness (next to Sir Patrick Allen) creates history at King's House.

On Sunday, October 23, a new page was added to the annals of our history, when 39-year-old Andrew Michael Holness, a son of St. Catherine, was officially installed as the ninth and youngest Prime Minister of independent Jamaica. A sea of dignitaries, government and opposition personnel and everyday Jamaicans gathered under a warm evening sun on the lawns of King's House to witness the beloved politician (the country’s education minister) take the oath of office and in so doing officially replace his predecessor Bruce Golding, who held the post for the past four years.

The two-hour ceremony was streamed live into households islandwide and via the Web to locations around the globe, making this long-awaited event a truly modern-day affair. For me, it was a thrill to bear witness to a significant moment that carried national, regional and international meaning – and, in truth, the dawn of a brand new era in Jamaican politics. In his first address as the new leader of the nation, which some have complained could have been edited for length, Holness pledged to staunchly play his part in bringing real transformation to the unsatisfying state of affairs in Jamaica, coincidentally a country gearing up to observe its 50th year of Independence.

“Today, I take responsibility for the direction of this country. Today, my generation must take responsibility for charting new pathways to fulfilling our destiny,” Holness remarked to thunderous applause. “Let us start with fathers taking responsibility for their children and parents deciding on having children that they can afford to have. Let us be responsible for the education of our children.”

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