At the time of writing, there is less than 12 hours before the start of the ceremony to swear in the Hon. Andrew Holness as Jamaica’s ninth (and youngest) prime minister (Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.)
Many can be heard spouting the now-catchy phrase ‘Is young people time now’. While others, akin to our Jamaican flavour, have dubbed him ‘Andrew (His) Hol(i)ness’ as he ascends to the highest executive office in the country.
Too much has been written on the subject for me to bore you with additional details about his stewardship as the education minister or the influence of his mentor, former prime minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, who introduced him to the political arena. I will not even touch on whether ‘young’ Holness will opt to vie for the western Kingston constituency seat to have some ‘relative’ measure of safeguard in retaining a seat in Gordon House following the fast approaching general elections. No, I will not even join in on the debate as to whether the new prime minister will call early elections or wait until they are constitutionally due in September 2012. Yes, you guessed it, I will not even comment on the size and structure of the new cabinet — who will be in or out is anybody’s guess.
I could mention a lot more things that I will not ponder on today, because – it is Andrew Holness’ day; and I think the nation owes it to itself to pause for a moment and recognize a possible paradigm shift. A young, bright, articulate, and hard-working man has risen up the ranks and is to be vested with a high and noble responsibility – and we applaud him.
BUT, … I cannot seem to get the notion of ‘Andrew (His) Hol(i)ness’ out of my head. I confess that – for a moment – even with the mixed metaphor – I thought of former prime minister, the Most Hon. Michael Manley (Joshua as it were, coming with the rod of correction). Then my thoughts turned to Barack Obama, the most popular United States President in contemporary times. So much potential, so much hope, so much…
I wish our new Prime Minister well; and I caution him and my fellow Jamaicans to recognize that his age alone and his photogenic attributes will not – by themselves – bring us to where we need to be as a people and a nation. Indeed, he – by himself – can do so little – without our total support (as we ought to give to any and every person holding that office).
Tomorrow when we wake, with our new prime minister, we will still be facing tough economic times; real issues with crime and violence; lack of resources in our hospitals and schools; deplorable road conditions in some communities; and wage issues. The cost of electricity and gasoline will still be too high; and the level of unemployment will still be pushing more and more of our brothers and sisters into poverty.
A new prime minister cannot fix those overnight! If we believe that he can; then we will only be setting up our selves for more disappointment. It is time to do away with the notion of a political messiah that will or has come to save his/her people. It is time for real talk, for honest discussions with the people and for hard (collective) work to bring this nation triumphantly into our 50th year of independence.
All hail the new PM; now let us get back to work.
Walk good, ’til next time…