Golding: JLP's second term won't be easy
...But former PM says Holness has fortitude to take on challengeTuesday, September 08, 2020
BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding yesterday said the Andrew Holness Administration merited the second term it won last Thursday but cautioned that it will be tough.
“It's the start of a second term; I think it's a well-deserved second term. It's going to be very challenging. It was challenging before the COVID-19 pandemic came along, it's going to be even more so now, but I am absolutely convinced that Andrew Holness has the fortitude, the vision and now the security in terms of the sizeable majority that he has to be able to take on that challenge,” Golding, who served as Jamaica's eighth prime minister (2007 to 2011), told the Jamaica Observer moments after Holness took the Oath of Office and the Oath of Allegiance at a ceremony at King's House in St Andrew.
Golding was among the handful of guests attending the ceremony which saw Holness being confirmed as chief executive for a third time after the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) trounced the Opposition People's National Party at the polls last Thursday, winning 48 of 63 parliamentary seats.
Holness had got his first term in office in October 2011, a month after Golding stepped down as prime minister and JLP leader. But Holness's tenure was brief, as he called a general election in December that year and lost. However, he turned the tables on the PNP in February 2016, winning by one seat.
Yesterday, in his first address to the nation as prime minister in this new term, Holness acknowledged the mammoth task facing his Administration.
“With such a large and convincing mandate, the greatest challenge will be to manage the internal demands and behaviour of those who form the majority,” he said.
“There will be those who feel that the majority is a basis for arrogance, licence to do as they wish, [that it] creates opportunity for them to pursue their selfish ends and their personal ambition, [that it offers] room for complacency and tolerance for errors. Those who hold such views will be sadly mistaken and soon separated,” Holness said ominously.
He went on to note that all parliamentarians should be mindful of the fact that they are servants of the Jamaican people.
“This mandate is not about them, it is about the people. No princes or princesses were elected; you have no divine right or entitlement. We are all servants of the country,” the prime minister declared.
In the meantime, he said work will continue to build out the anti-corruption framework with the requisite legislative backing while pointing out that “the challenge however is not just one of resources and regulations, it is also one of will and culture”.
According to the prime minister, his Government has clearly demonstrated the will to act “within the law when matters arise that are of concern to the public interest”.
“No one has been shown any special favours, given any protection or influence brought to bear on any anti-corruption agency or investigation; this is a step in the right direction. However, in addition to investigation and prosecution we must also seek to prevent the occurrences of practices which weaken public trust and damage the integrity of the Government,” Holness stated.
He said each elected representative and appointed minister will be required to participate in training conducted by the Integrity Commission, to ensure that they understand their duties under law and their accountability.
“Once we have built the confidence of the public that their resources will not be diverted…and there is a sense that the elected officials and public servants act with a high level of integrity, once that is in place this will unleash a sense of public support for the Government and the State that will make any development plan a success,” Holness said.
Stating that his Administration was still concerned about the low voter turnout seen over the last three general elections, Holness said the Government was committed to demonstrating the highest level of integrity, dignity and efficiency.
“We know a large number of Jamaicans are still not satisfied with the integrity, dignity and efficiency of the State and Government. We therefore see a strong correlation between the success of our social and economic programmes and the trust of the public,” the prime minister stated.
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