A very good afternoon to you.
Lady Allen joins me in extending a warm greeting and welcome to each one of you at King’s House for this ceremony to swear in Mr. Andrew Holness as Prime Minister of Jamaica. Your presence here exudes an aura of a shared commitment to Jamaica which makes my responsibility so much easier to fulfill. It is clear that each one of you understands this sense of the history being created here today, with – Mr. Holness being the youngest person to be twice sworn in as Prime Minister. I also welcome those at home and in the Diaspora who have joined us via electronic media and the internet, to witness this important ceremony.
We are all united in the hope of Jamaica’s fulfillment of its destiny to increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity. Together we, out of many one people, going forward, must strive to fulfill the imperative of our National Pledge and collaborate regardless of political or other differences.
We commend the people of Jamaica for the maturity and togetherness displayed during the election campaign. We have come a long way in strengthening the voting system and engendering confidence and trust in Jamaica’s electoral process. We therefore congratulate the individuals and organizations that contributed to the successful execution of the process.
Especially I thank:
· the ECJ and the Electoral Office of Jamaica,
· the Security Forces,
· the Political Ombudsman,
· the Custodes, who facilitated the signing of the Code of Conduct, in their respective parishes,
· and each candidate whose commitment to and participation in the electoral process further strengthened our democracy.
Mr. Holness, you will once again assume the most powerful elected position in this country. Let me also add that even as Mrs. Holness joins you later in the House of Representatives, another aspect of history will be created in Jamaica. Existing and predicted economic and social challenges will require of a new Prime Minister, strong and decisive leadership:
§ leadership that understands the times and knows what must be done,
§ leadership that understands the language of every Jamaican,
§ leadership that can build consensus and motivate strong partnerships at the local level, as well as in the regional and international arena,
§ leadership that can tap into the energies, hopes and aspirations of our youth and engage them.
To quote your own words Mr. Holness: “the voices, ideas and energy of our young people are integral to Jamaica’s sustainable development”. My own interaction with our youth has confirmed their eagerness to exhale and to be a dynamic part of the process. This has deepened my conviction that “There is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica.”
Our youth must believe, not only in their ability and eagerness to contribute to the growth of this nation, but also in our commitment to foster pathways for their fullest development and involvement. I hope your leadership will be a catalyst for this engagement.
Congratulations Mr. Holness on your appointment to the Office of Prime Minister and I pray that our Eternal Father will grant you true wisdom and success as you lead our country.
I also take this opportunity on behalf of all Jamaica to thank outgoing Prime Minister, The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, for her stewardship of the country over the last four difficult years. Your place, Madam, is securely etched in Jamaica’s history and we thank you for the charm, grace and love which you shared with all Jamaica and for which they will remember you.
At the heart of liberal democracy is the balancing of divergent interests and the diffusion of power. Your role, Mrs. Simpson Miller, will continue to be critical in our democratic process as you continue as Leader of Opposition. We thank you for your service in upholding our enviable democratic traditions at a crucial and difficult time in our history.
I now use this opportunity to remind and assure every Jamaican that the leadership of this country is in good hands. Our incoming Prime Minister is a five time elected Member of Parliament from West Central St. Andrew and the Leader of the Opposition is a nine time MP from the neighbouring South West St. Andrew. Therefore, they can collaborate to do great things for this country.
This is what the country is requesting of their leaders as they on election and nomination days danced in the streets together from different parties- as husbands / wives voted for the party of their choice, only to go back home and resume their lives / love.
Jamaica is now asking that our leaders and each person to put her first!
So now, I call on Jamaicans from all walks of life at home and in the Diaspora, to lend Mr. Holness your support. I call upon those who will form the government, to unite and support your Prime Minister, knowing that “the success of the government is the success of Jamaica; the failure of government is the failure of Jamaica.”
May we all navigate these treacherous waters safely and securely.
I now invite Mr. Andrew Holness to come forward and take the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office. Following which the Chancellor of the Order of the Nation will confer the National Honour.