In all our policy pursuits, in all the grand ideas, we must ensure that the core of these policies brings along the poor and the most vulnerable in the society and we have never forgotten that.
Prime Minster Andrew Holness has recalled one of the best and most lasting pieces of advice he received from Jamaica’s 5th Prime Minster, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga: “Whatever you do, don’t forget the poor.”
In keeping with this, Prime Minister Holness added, “In all our policy pursuits, in all the grand ideas, we must ensure that the core of these policies brings along the poor and the most vulnerable in the society and we have never forgotten that.”
The Prime Minister was speaking yesterday (November 3, 2022) while delivering his main address at the inaugural Edward Seaga Human Development Lecture at the University of Technology. The lecture also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the HEART/NSTA Trust, which was founded by former Prime Minister Seaga in July 1982.
Notably, the HEART/NSTA Trust continues to stand as Jamaica’s foremost national institution for skills training and development. In his 2010 follow-up memoir, ‘My Life and Leadership – Volume 2’, former Prime Minister Seaga wrote, “Among the large number of institutions, I have been responsible for creating, HEART became one of my favourites because it saved thousands of youths by giving them a second opportunity to create a better life.”
Since then, HEART has evolved in numerous ways, training over 600,000 people and issuing over 250,000 NCTVET certifications to date. HEART now boasts almost 30 institutions and over 80 community training intervention programmes.
In addition to the HEART/NSTA Trust, Prime Minister Seaga’s vision and insight led to the creation of many institutions. Some of these include the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Jamaica Mortgage Bank, Ex-Im Bank, JAMPRO, Student’s Loan Bureau, Jamaica Festival Movement, National Gallery and Urban Development Corporation.
Regarding this, Prime Minister Holness said, “He was really interested in taking the theoretical foundations of his studies [in anthropology] and applying them in the laboratory of life – policy in action. He had a genuine care, love and passion for people.”
Furthermore, the Prime Minister highlighted that the objective of his administration is to create policies that will last and rise above narrow political agendas.
Prime Minister Holness said: “I take my lead from Edward Seaga in being very well-researched and thorough in the development of policy and more than anything else, practical and realistic. I also think it is important that we spend some time to reflect on our history and the people who have charted the course before us, whose vision, effort and plans we now live in.”