Hoping the PM's caution is well received


Hoping the PM's caution is well received

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness made a good start to his consecutive term in office on Monday when he told the members of his Government that they were not elected as rulers, but rather servants of the people.

That reality is often lost on legislators in the Lower House, who believe that the seats they occupy in that chamber somehow entitle them to respond to people's concerns with arrogance and nonchalance.

We hope, therefore, that the caution issued by Mr Holness has been well received and will remain at the forefront of the minds of Members of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet ministers as they should be working for the betterment of Jamaica and Jamaicans, especially those who are in dire need of assistance.

And even though Mr Holness was addressing the members of his Administration, we expect that Opposition MPs would have taken note of what he said and apply it to their own interactions with the public.

Additionally, we hope that Prime Minister Holness will not be insensible to the obligations which devolve upon him as chief executive, nor of his responsibility for the faithful discharge of his duty to the country.

Mr Holness, and indeed the members of his Government, should also bear in mind that Jamaica's development, reputation, honour, and the happiness and safety of our people will rely heavily on the skill and ability with which they manage our affairs.

In that regard, they must remain true to the dignity and high importance of service. Additionally, the prime minister, as head of the Government, must admonish his team never to disgrace Jamaica, remind them that they must act in accordance with the laws of the country, that they should be guided by justice in all their actions, and remain steady and firm in principle.

The strong mandate given to the Jamaica Labour Party — 48 seats to 15 — in the September 3 General Election provides, we believe, a glorious opportunity for the Administration to make a significant difference to the quality of governance to which the country has been subjected over many years.

Whether the Government is up to the task is yet to be seen, because even though the electorate thought the Administration deserved a second term, there were instances of inappropriate behaviour in the first term that stained its record. And while, in those instances, the prime minister had little political wiggle room — which really should be no excuse for weak or diplomatic action — the fact is that now he has leverage.

Mr Holness, obviously, is aware of that, because since last Thursday night he has repeated a caution to his team that those who believe the landslide victory is a basis for arrogance, or a licence to do as they wish, or that it creates opportunity for them to pursue their selfish ends and their personal ambition “will be sadly mistaken and soon separated”.

As we pointed out before in this space on Monday, we, and indeed all Jamaicans, will be watching and judging. As such, Mr Holness's legacy will be coloured by his response to any instance of malfeasance or any other act of misconduct within the Administration.

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