PM Holness has made an impact at the UN

Letters to the Editor

PM Holness has made an impact at the UN

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I was only a young wide-eyed girl at university in London when I was smitten by the revolutionary Michael Manley. He towered above all other Caribbean leaders, figuratively and literally, at the time. He was the only Caribbean leader known and respected on the world stage.

Edward Seaga, as well, was equally respected, particularly by Western countries but not as well known as Manley.

PJ Patterson had some international presence and his unchallenged reign as Jamaica's prime minister for over 13 years gave him sage-like status within Caricom.

Since Manley however, there hasn't been another Caribbean leader who has had significant international exposure or recognition. Having observed Andrew Holness on the international stage over these last few years he is poised to occupy the spot and possibly surpass Manley as the international Caribbean voice.

I have come to this conclusion, less so from my Caribbean heritage and more from the vantage point of being a United Nations (UN) technocrat of many years. There is a buzz about Prime Minister Holness and Jamaica in the UN and among other multilateral agencies.

Jamaica has an excellent foreign minister in Kamina Johnson Smith who is to Jamaican diplomacy what Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce is to Jamaican athletics. In addition, Ambassador Rattray, Jamaica's permanent representative at the UN, has permanently established his credentials at the UN headquarters.

Jamaica's excellent performance with the completion of the International Monetary Fund programme and its economic recovery is a story being told all over by all multilateral agencies, for it is as much a vindication of their policies as it is a success for Jamaica. All together, Jamaica has a good platform. Andrew Holness is standing on it and people are listening and want to hear more.

Prime Minister Holness is not a revolutionary like Manley, but were I a young wide-eyed girl again, I may still have been smitten. He is a more sober and conservative leader, not intimidating and troublesome to the establishment. Nevertheless, he is quick intellectually and quite charismatic but not as nauseatingly charming like his contemporary Justin Trudeau.

I work behind the scenes at the UN and I hear the talk and private views of the movers and shakers, and Prime Minister Holness has made an impact. He is well liked and highly respected. Jamaica is being watched closely and people are just rooting for the country to succeed. It was no surprise that at the recently concluded UN General Assembly Prime Minister Holness was asked to speak at so many events, standing shoulder to shoulder with world leaders.

It was a good signal for Jamaica to co-host with Norway the pledging luncheon for the replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, and it was a great honour for India to ask Jamaica, among countries like Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore, to speak at the commutation of Gandhi.

Prime Minister Holness is still a young man with great potential ahead. He is becoming a leading voice on climate change and the poster boy for good fiscal management. This is giving Jamaica visibility and access which the Government should leverage with international development agencies and bilateral relationships to benefit the development of the country.

Alison Dixon

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