It is a pleasure to welcome each one of you to King’s House for this ceremony to swear in the Most Honourable Mrs. Portia Simpson Miller as Prime Minister of Jamaica. I also extend a warm welcome to those heads of government and delegations from abroad who have joined us for this historic occasion, as well as those in the Diaspora, who are watching via the electronic media and the Internet.
The general election in Jamaica is concluded, the people have spoken and I now call upon all Jamaicans to unite and cooperate with our new Prime Minister and the government that will be installed.
An occasion such as this, reassures us, that despite our challenges and the obstacles that we face, the democratic process by which we elect national leaders is still seen as sacrosanct. The Jamaican electorate has shown in this past election that as a people we have a matured understanding that regardless of our preferences and differences the process can be engaged without violence and fear.
I wish to commend the individuals and organizations that contributed to its successful and peaceful execution as well as all the persons who have been elected as a result, to serve in the House of Representatives.
Mrs. Simpson Miller, is assuming the office of Prime Minister at a watershed moment in Jamaica’s history. It is the fiftieth year of our Independence and she is coming to the kingdom in time to lead the Jubilee celebrations. But even as we celebrate, there is this underlying anxiety about the economic and social challenges that are predicted for 2012. Whereas we would not want these to dampen the celebration of our achievements, the assurance of strong decisive leadership coupled with patient understanding will help to create the balance that is needed at this critical time in our history.
We are aware Madam Prime Minister, that you will not be able to meet these challenges alone despite the numerous times that you alone must make certain decisions. Therefore I call upon all Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, from all walks of life and in all organizations to lend her your support, for in doing so you are supporting yourselves and Jamaica becomes the beneficiary.
Your influence Mrs. Simpson Miller, will not be confined only to this country but will extend to the region, which beckons for your cooperation and leadership so that the Caribbean Community can collectively command support for its interests and achievement of its developmental goals. Additionally, we operate in a global village which allows for easy access, and into which we must tap successfully, while foisting strong relationships.
I commend you, Mrs. Simpson Miller, for your resilience, courage in the face of obstacles, indomitable faith in the Jamaican people and devotion to the cause of public service over so many years. You have been prepared not only in the academic university but also the University of Life Experiences to become a role model and an Icon in the Jamaican political landscape.
Your success has forcefully reminded us of the invaluable contribution that our women have made to politics and other areas of life, not only in Jamaica, but also in the Region and the world. I trust that when your tour of duty ends, because of the quality of your leadership the famous saying of the sixth century Chinese philosopher Laozi (LAO-tsuh) will apply to you “when the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘we did it ourselves!'”
It is with this confidence that I also reassert my unrepentant belief in the people of Jamaica and the faith that we will realize the social and economic gains our people have longed for during these fifty years of our independence. We have the natural resources, creative talents, courage, and the people who have demonstrated time and time again that we can succeed even when the odds are against us.
Mrs. Simpson-Miller, as you set about with humility to increase the level of trust in our society, to strengthen the mechanisms of transparency and accountability you will inspire faith to move mountains, and I believe that Jamaicans will walk side by side with you. I congratulate you on your appointment to the Office of Prime Minister and I hope you will not only be encumbered with responsibilities but that you may enjoy the privileges of your high office.
I would also like to thank outgoing Prime Minister, Honourable Andrew Holness, for his stewardship of thiscountry. It is said that the final test of a leader is that he leaves in others, the conviction and the will to carry on. Liberal democracy has at its heart, the balancing of divergent interests and the diffusion of power. Your role, Mr. Holness, will continue to be critical in our democratic process. We thank you for your service in upholding our enviable democratic traditions at a crucial time in our history. We wish for you and your family all the best in the future.
I pray for Divine wisdom, guidance and protection for each person and also for our nation as we continue to build Jamaica Land we Love.