Prime Minister Andrew Holness has underscored the Government’s commitment to ensuring wide participation from all sectors of the Jamaican society in the design of the new Parliament building.
A section of the National Heroes Park lands was earmarked as the site of the new Parliament building.
The Prime Minister was speaking this morning (May 17) at the Official launch of Houses of Parliament Design Competition lead by the Urban Development Corporation.
Noting that a wide cross section of Jamaicans, including the Jamaica Institute of Architects, have indicated that they will endorse the design competition, the Prime Minister said the Government will respectfully listen to the concerns of all persons.
“We are going to build this parliament and we are going to do it the right way. We are going to take all concerns on board, all suggestions, it is going to be bi-partisan, multi-sectoral and it will be done in the best interest of all the people of Jamaica,” stated Mr. Holness.
Prime Minister Holness asserted that Jamaica has dithered for far too long on the matter of building a new Parliament as the idea dates back to the 1950’s.
He noted that Jamaica has never had a purpose built Parliament.
The Prime Minister asserted that he will pursue the building of a new Parliament as a symbol of national pride.
He said that investing in building a new Parliament is not wasting the people’s money.
“The [current] building itself lacks the stature and functionality of a modern Parliament. There is a sense in the country that we must not spend anything on Government. There is a sense that if you are going to invest in making the symbols of Government reflective of the hopes, dreams, ambitions, aspirations of the people that you are wasting money because there is great distrust of the state and indeed a separation of the state from the people. Investing in a Parliament is not wasting people’s money. It is because we have not as a country made the investment in the symbols of our sovereignty why we have fundamental issues with the rule of law, fairness and dignity of the state,” said the Prime Minister.
In the meantime, Mr. Holness underscored the importance of including the Jamaican diaspora. He also lauded the patron for the project renowned Jamaican, international architect, Gordon Gill.
“I thought it important to invite someone from the diaspora because in building our parliament we would want to have our diaspora participate in some way because the Parliament is for Jamaicans and it’s not just Jamaicans living here. When we think about Jamaica now, we have to think about Jamaicans living everywhere. We have to find a way to finance it and I believe this is a way we could incorporate the diaspora. This is a way in which we could bring them in, to become part of the creation of the sovereign building,” stated Mr. Holness.
The Houses of Parliament Design competition is now open for all certified Jamaican architects to participate. Persons wishing to participate can visit www.ourjaparliament.com.