Holness urges youth to take positive look at politics
Prime Minister Andrew Holness approaches the grave of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga at National Heroes' Park on Sunday May 28 to lay a wreath as a tribute marking the 93rd anniversary of his birth. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

PRIME Minister Andrew Holness told young Jamaicans attending Sunday's floral tribute to former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, at National Heroes' Park in Kingston, to take a positive outlook on their politics.

"I am now speaking to the young people we have here. You need to look at your politics through future lenses, and not the lenses that have been placed over your eyes by those who are still stuck in the past in terms of their analysis, their criticisms, and their comments. You need to take a positive outlook on your politics," he told the crowd commemorating the 93rd anniversary of the birth of Seaga, Jamaica's fifth prime minister.

Holness, who praised Seaga for his political training prior to his ascendancy, said that the late leader, as minister of development and culture, saw that Jamaican culture had value and could be monitored and teamed with the Government's social arm, the Social Development Commission (SDC), to create programmes like Things Jamaican.

The name Things Jamaican became synonymous over the years with quality Jamaican-made art and craft products. However, as the prime minister noted, while the company still exists under the Jamaica Business Development Company (JBDC) with which it will be able to attract national talent from the rural areas in the craft and cottage industries, it failed to fulfil its objectives despite the presence of the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), and fell flat because of political differences through the years.

"The programme is still existing. It is trying to fulfil its mission. It is there trying to sell Jamaican products and will be brought under the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport or the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce. It could convert culture into a product, not a commodity, that could be used in the development of the country," the prime minister explained.

"So you can understand why the country has to review its politics in the way it does today. When you look at things like that, it is now helpful because you have to accept that your politics is changing, and it is only when your politics changes that the outlook and circumstances of the country will change," he added.

He said that previous prime ministers — including Michael Manley, PJ Patterson, Bruce Golding and Portia Simpson Miller — had also tried, in their very own way, to change those circumstances without success.

"To change politics what we need to do now is to get the people to believe that the politics is changing and bring them along with the changes, and using the old perspectives and the old outlooks to analyse the current situation before we carry you back to the old perspectives. You need to look at your politics," he insisted.

Other speakers at the tribute included Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange, and the Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie, both protégés of Prime Minister Seaga who was born on May 28, 1930. He was buried in National Heroes Park, in Kingston on June 23, 2019.

Floral tributes were laid by: Prime Minister Holness; Minister of National Security and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Horace Chang; former People's National Party (PNP) Minister Horace Dalley, who represented Opposition Leader Mark Golding; Dr Dunn, who represented Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke; Prudence Kidd-Deans, on behalf of the widow of Seaga; Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, who represented his children; Councillor Jermaine Hyatt, Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), representing the mayor of Kingston, Councillor Delroy Williams; Ann-Marie Spence-Heron, president of the Tivoli Gardens Football Club; Christopher Bovell, chairman of the Edward Seaga Research Centre; and Shayne Kerr, president of Generation 2000.

Performances were from: D Brunz, singing The Harder They Come; and the Tivoli Dance Troupe doing Revibration. Master of ceremonies was Oliver Watt.

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior Observer writer

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