Americas

Andrew Holness sworn in as Jamaica’s new prime minister

Four years after his party was unseated at the polls, Andrew Holness officially returns to the helm Thursday as Jamaica’s newest prime minister.
Four years after his party was unseated at the polls, Andrew Holness officially returns to the helm Thursday as Jamaica’s newest prime minister. AP

Jamaica Labor Party leader Andrew Michael Holness became his island-nation’s newest prime minister on Thursday, promising to build partnerships to help Jamaica become the “center of the Caribbean.”

“We cannot be satisfied with things as they are. My dream is to fulfill your dreams,” Holness said during his inaugural address after he was sworn in at 4 p.m. at King’s House in Kingston.

Holness, 43, called on Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora to join him in taking the debt-ridden nation to economic prosperity.

“We will ensure that it is easy for the diaspora to participate in the development of their homeland,” he said.

Jamaica’s Governor General Sir Patrick Allen welcomed the new prime minister while thanking outgoing Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for her years of service to the country. Allen noted that Simpson Miller is a nine- time member of parliament while Holness is a five-time member.

The day was symbolic and historical. Holness will be joined in parliament by his wife Juliet Holness, who was also elected.

Allen told Holness before he took the oath of office that he hopes his “leadership will be a catalyst.”

“The success of the government is the success of Jamaica,” Allen said. “The failure of the government is the failure of Jamaica.”

John Yearwood interviews Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness.

On Tuesday, the Electoral Office of Jamaica confirmed that the Jamaica Labor Party had dealt a major upset to Prime Minster’s Portia Simpson Miller’s People’s National Party by winning last Thursday’s general elections. At the end of a final count by the elections office, Jamaica Labor Party candidates had won 32 of the 63 constituencies while the People’s National Party won 31.

The Jamaica Labor Party, however, is still hoping to increase its one-seat margin by picking up an additional seat.

A magisterial recount for the constituency of St. Mary South Eastern was still ongoing late Wednesday. Jamaica Labor Party candidate Norman Dunn had initially been declared the winner of the seat but lost it in the recount by nine votes after 74 votes were rejected. The seat is now held by the People’s National Party’s Dr. Winston Green.

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