Speeches by the Prime Minister

THRONE SPEECH 2022
PM Holness Remarks at the 1st Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the OACPS
PM Holness Statement: Government Finalizing Negotiation to Repatriate Jamaicans
Statement from Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Policy Statement – Prime Minister of Jamaica The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP at the General Debate – 74Th Session of the United Nations General Assembly New York, 27th September 2019
Intervention by Prime Minister of Jamaica the Most Hon Andrew Holness, ON, MP at the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative High Level Event: Progress and Perspectives on Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls, UNGA, New York

Swearing-in of New Ministers On January 11, 2022

January, 11 2022
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, newly minted Ministers; I'm not sure if I should say congratulations, some may even say it's commiserations but you have been chosen because I have confidence in you that you will be able to accomplish the tasks set for you. Our newly sworn-in Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, you have a major task in front of you to reform Jamaica's laws, to start the process of reviewing our constitution and indeed the conversation has already begun about our status as a constitutional monarchy and the change that we would all like to see, but there is a process to achieving that and we want to make sure that we order all our steps appropriately and you will have the task of guiding that from the executive perspective. Increasingly Jamaica is required to comply with our international obligations, which oftentimes mean legislation and such legislation can sometimes be inconsistent with our own legal framework and our constitution and so greater effort would have to be put in to ensure that when we are required by virtue our treaties and other such things that we are signing onto, that when we do pass our…

Prime Minister Andrew Holness New Year’s Day Message 2022

January, 01 2022
I am sure we are all breathing a collective sigh of relief that we made it through one of the most challenging years; globally, nationally, and personally, in our lifetimes.  As Jamaica, like the world, tried to protect our population from the deadly virus, through measures such as curfews, lockdowns, mask-wearing and vaccination, these very measures which have kept us safe, have also disrupted our social routines, disrupted supply chains, disrupted livelihoods, and imposed on our freedoms. Globally, supply chain disruptions have caused inflation to rise and locally that has been reflected in price increases, particularly of food.  Governments have had to increase public debt in order to increase spending on social protection to cushion the fallout in employment and household income. In Jamaica’s case, because of prudent management, we built up fiscal buffers and we were able to reallocate resources within our Budget to deliver a record of over 100 billion dollars of social protection and recovery support without increasing borrowing. I understand that for some listening this may not seem like a big deal, however, in the past, shocks such as a storm, or commodity price shocks as we experienced in the 1970’s and 80’s, or a global financial recession…

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Christmas Message 2021

December, 25 2021
Christmas is the most anticipated time of the year. It’s our Jamaican tradition to clean up, spruce up, and decorate our homes and communities, sometimes with a fresh coat of paint and some pepper light.  There is an increased buzz of activities, peaking in Grand Market; signaling the preparation for families coming together, gifts, good cheer, good food, merriment for some and quietude for others. I believe we all know that it will not be Christmas as usual. Though we are happy at the signs of recovery so far and optimistic that it will continue to be robust and sharp, there are many Jamaicans who have not yet recovered livelihoods or income. The disruption in global supply chains has negatively impacted the cost of living, both in the availability and price of goods.  The COVID-19 Pandemic has altered our way of life, attenuating our movements, gatherings and interactions.  It has impacted everyone in some way, whether it is: the pan chicken person who saw significant dips in their revenue, the river rafting operator or the hotel worker who saw their earnings dry up almost overnight when the travel and tourism industry initially faced a global shutdown, the frontline workers who have…

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Presentation at the High-Level Event – Launch of Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (CDRI)

November, 10 2021
Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen Allow me to commend and congratulate the co-convenors of this timely initiative and to thank Prime Minister Modi in particular for his invitation.  I well recall the meeting between India and CARICOM leaders on the margins of the UNGA a few years ago when PM Modi listened to our developmental concerns and pledged his support. In Jamaica, our resilience-building efforts will shortly be boosted by a US$1 million grant from India to support the construction of facilities for sustainable agriculture. The initiative being launched today rightly focuses attention on SIDS, as we are on the frontline of this Climate Crisis. As we all know, a single disaster can derail the entire budget of a small island and set its economy back by years, reducing fiscal space to finance climate adaptation and resilience efforts. We, therefore, welcome this much needed initiative that reflects our own thinking around the pivotal role played by infrastructure in building resilience.  In fact, the Government of Jamaica is currently co-hosting the 7th UN Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean under the theme Building Resilient Economies. Jamaica believes in innovation.  As part of our national strategy and…

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PRIME MINISTER ANDREW HOLNESS, ON, MP TO THE WORLD LEADERS SUMMIT OF THE 26TH CONFERENCE OF PARTIES (COP 26)

November, 10 2021
TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (UNFCCC) Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom November 1-2, 2021 Mr President, Excellencies, Colleagues, On behalf of the people of Jamaica, I thank the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Italian Republic, for their strong commitment and leadership in hosting this COP 26 within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the excellent arrangements that have been made to keep us safe. The message is clear - climate change remains a pre-eminent priority for global action.  As we have come to appreciate with the pandemic, “no one is safe until everyone is safe”.  So too with CLIMATE CHANGE. All countries must act responsibly and with ambition, to preserve our climate for current and future generations. Importantly, the pandemic demonstrated that the world has the capacity to develop global solutions in record time when we believe and agree that the problem threatens our safety and security.  It also demonstrated the need for equity. Equity is similarly critical to our response to climate change. Countries that have profited the most from carbon over decades have a responsibility to make resources and technology available to others to adapt and transition to low carbon economies. This was…

National Heroes Day Message 2021

October, 17 2021
National Heroes Day is set aside as a public holiday each year to honour those great Jamaicans, who by their work and often ultimate sacrifice, revolted against slavery, secured our freedom, fought for equal rights and justice, guided our Independence, resisted oppression, and in so doing inspired a revolution and an awakening of self-pride and consciousness, not only in Jamaica as a nation but as black people all over the world. Today we honour the memory of Nanny of the Maroons, symbolic of the fierce and indomitable spirit of resistance in the face of overwhelming power, that has come to define the Jamaican ethos, “little but tallawah.” I speak of Sam Sharpe, though enslaved, he was a deacon and a teacher. He used his education and his religious standing to inspire his fellow enslaved to rise up against slavery. Sam Sharpe was hanged on May 23, 1832, he along with over 500 enslaved persons paid the ultimate sacrifice of their life for our freedom today. The 1801 Christmas Slave Rebellion he inspired would prove to be instrumental in bringing about the abolition of slavery in 1834. Thirty years after emancipation, there was very little meaningful improvement in the condition of…

STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER ANDREW HOLNESS, FOR THE FIRST AFRICA-CARICOM SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT

September, 07 2021
FIRST AFRICA-CARICOM SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT 7TH SEPTEMBER 2021 Theme: UNITY ACROSS CONTINENTS AND OCEANS: OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEEPENING INTEGRATION Mr. Chairman (and Brother Uhuru Kenyatta) Your Excellencies Friends Good morning and good afternoon. I am truly honoured to address this historic inaugural Africa-CARICOM Summit, a timely dialogue which can only strengthen our fraternal bonds. The common historical experiences between Africa and the Caribbean have been enriched by cultural, economic and political affinities. Potential untapped for centuries lies within our respective reaches as we not only develop national capacities, but engage opportunities for cooperation with each other across continents and oceans. The challenges of the last year and a half have reinforced the possibilities and value of the Africa-CARICOM relationship. Most critically, Jamaica and the Caribbean region benefitted greatly from the African Union’s provision of access to COVID-19 vaccines and other critical medical supplies through the innovative AMSP which has been a game changer for the continent and for us. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area is another - creating an enabling environment for the flow of investment and tourism. For Jamaica, there is potential in the agro-industry and logistics sectors, and Jamaican companies have already invested in Africa.…

Statement on COVID-19 Measures by The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, PC, MP, Prime Minister To the Houses of Parliament Jamaica Conference Centre on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

August, 03 2021
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Madam Deputy Speaker, I wanted to update Parliament on the proposed measures for December 2020 prior to the enactment of the new Orders under the Disaster Risk Management Act.  We must take measures now to continue our measured, evidence-based, proportionate and situationally appropriate risk-based management approach to the pandemic.   We are now approaching another period of high risk for us in the pandemic.  We're now approaching another period of high risk for us as a nation in the pandemic. This is a period of time when we will be seeing higher levels of travel both internally and from overseas. It is a period of time when Jamaicans are looking forward to the traditional merriment that is associated with the Christmas season. Those factors contribute to this period being a higher risk period than normal. It is a difficult balance to fulfil the expectations of the season, anticipated increase in commercial activity, while at the same time keeping the population safe and not overwhelm our health system.   We must remain diligent in our adherence to the infection prevention and control measures and not jeopardize our recovery prospects in 2021.   Our measures for the…

EMANCIPATION DAY MESSAGE 2021

August, 01 2021
183 years ago today on August 1, 1838, the descendants of trafficked and enslaved Africans, who themselves grew up in generations of slavery, finally celebrated their full freedom, as declared in the Emancipation proclamation. There are many reasons to be considered as to why the British Parliament decided to end slavery as a means of social and economic organization in its colonies. The abolitionist movement and a growing consciousness of the inhumanity of slavery would have played a part. Eric Williams in his celebrated thesis on Capitalism and Slavery contended that sugar and how it was produced through the plantation system became increasingly unprofitable and costly to maintain. However, we must never overlook or underplay the role that our forebears played in resisting and rebelling against slavery. Though the system of chattel slavery was total in its control and dehumanization, it could not completely eliminate our dignity and the spirit of resistance to oppression. Our forebears were not passive and obsequious onlookers, waiting for freedom to be handed to them. They actively rejected the idea of enslavement and fought it physically, often making the ultimate sacrifice; paying with their lives as did Sam Sharpe and many other nameless fighters. Today,…