Holness urges JLP supporters to listen to the public


Holness urges JLP supporters to listen to the public

Senior staff reporter

Friday, July 10, 2020

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness is urging his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters to pay more attention to what the public is saying about current issues.

“We have to contemplate what is being said by the public. We have to consider it. We can't, in any true sense, be considered a learning organisation if we don't pay attention to what the public is saying,” Holness told a relatively small group of party officials and candidate/caretakers attending a JLP 77th anniversary function at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, on Wednesday night.

“I am speaking in coded language, but I am sure everybody understands what I am saying — I am sure,” the prime minister added, before wading into a quotation from the ceremony launching the party on July 8, 1943 from the stage of the Ward Theatre, which called for the JLP not to do anything that creates distrust and to remain recognised by “its genuineness of purpose, taking pride in honesty and providing no room for deceivers, for charlatans or rogues, and for self -seekers”.

Holness said that as a political organisation, the JLP must be responsible, as, from time to time, it would appear, internally, that there is a dissonance between what the public is expecting and what the political practitioners are prepared to do.

“In that conflict there is only one winner, and that is the public. The public is not going to change to what the party wants; the party has to change to what the public wants. The changes are not always going to be instantaneous, and there are some who hold the view that it is not everything that the public wants is in the public's interest, and in some instances that is true. That is why you have an independent judiciary, so that mass rule does not exist or cannot exist, but, in general, for democracies it is the public will that must take hold,” Holness stated.

“The public takes time to evolve, to grow, to emerge, to become entrenched, but the political party that is going to become the majority party, the national party, is the party that finds space, opportunity and positioning to embrace public opinion and change rapidly with it,” he added.

He said that the party is on a mission to change Jamaica for the better, to make it “genuinely and truly a place of choice to live, work, raise families, do business, and retire in paradise.

“But whilst we are here, we are going to give it our best shot, and I believe firmly and strongly that this is the right party and the right time in Jamaica's history to truly achieve goals and visions that were set 77 years ago, for which we still remain true and committed to it,” he stated.

The function was highlighted by the announcement of four more scholarships to tertiary institutions, which will be financed by the party's Scholarship Fund.

Last year, JLP introduced five scholarships for The University of the West Indies and the University of Technology, Jamaica, named after the five prime ministers the party produced between 1962 and 2007, and covering different areas, such as: Sir Alexander Bustamante (mathematics/computer sciences); Sir Donald Sangster (agriculture); Hugh Shearer (engineering); Edward Seaga (economics); and Bruce Golding (the sciences).

The four additional scholarships are honouring deceased officials former Deputy Leader Dr Kenneth Baugh; former Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson; former Minister of Education Dr Neville Gallimore; and former senator and Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson.

Only a small number of JLP officials attended the function due to social distancing measures, but the function was streamed live on social media to reach a wider audience than in the past.

The programme opened with the welcome from JLP Chairman Robert Montague, who argued that the party had always maintained that one of its “principles” was to promote “education for the masses”.

He was followed by General Secretary Dr Horace Chang, who said that the party was founded on the principles of “equity for the working class, marginalised and the underprivileged in our society”.

He said that it was the mission of the party to transform the lives of its founding members, including the workers.

“Over the past 27 years, the party has remained unrelenting in our pursuit of a stronger, more just and more prosperous Jamaica, through the development of our people. We continue to build on this foundation of Bustamante, as he made the concerns of the working class the priority of the nation,” he said.

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