Speeches by the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Holness Keynote Address at the Heal the Nation, Heal the Family On January 4, 2023
Prime Minister’s New Year’s Message 2023
Christmas Message 2022 – A Christmas of Peace
PM Holness Remarks at the 1st Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the OACPS
PM Holness Statement: Government Finalizing Negotiation to Repatriate Jamaicans

Prime Minister’s Independence Message 2022

August, 06 2022
Jamaica, the Next 60 Years My fellow Jamaicans, this Independence Day is especially significant; it is our Diamond Jubilee, 60 years as an independent nation. We celebrate under the theme, “Jamaica 60, Reigniting a Nation for Greatness.” While we cannot allow the current global crises of a pandemic, war, and inflation to dampen our mood, the government is mindful of the hardships our people are experiencing; therefore, our celebrations must give hope, be meaningful, and uplifting. At 60, there must be reflection, introspection, contemplation, and prospection. As leaders, have we been good stewards of our nation? As citizens, have we been law-abiding, productive, and creative? And as a nation, have we been doing our part to advance the welfare of the whole human race? What will our story be in another 60 years? We reflect on the unfurling of the black, green, and gold on August 6th, 1962, a glorious time filled with high hopes and great expectations, the culmination of over 450 years of struggle from enslavement to Emancipation to nationhood. As we began to chart our course on the journey as an independent nation, we would meet with many successes and nationally fulfilling moments. Still, we would also encounter real challenges on our journey. As we contemplate our journey, we must come to grips with our pathway. We are a small island open economy, geographically at risk of natural disasters. Our history is one of struggle to secure rights and social…

Prime Minister’s Emancipation Day Message 2022

August, 01 2022
So many milestones and episodes make up the Jamaican story. However, we can agree that the proclamation of Emancipation in 1834, after over 300 years of both Spanish and British enslavement, is pivotal to understanding our current situation and future trajectory. We commemorate Emancipation Day not only as the culmination of the struggles of over 10 generations of our ancestors to gain freedom, but we also recount it as the starting point of a free people now taking up a new struggle to forge themselves into a sovereign nation. After full freedom in 1838, our former enslaved family members had certain rights granted to them by the colonial government. We did not have a government of our own making, reflection, or choosing. We were subjects of the colonial power but still treated as lesser people in many respects. For 128 years between Emancipation in 1834 and Independence in 1962, though we lived as free people, it was a monumental struggle to use our freedom to create a better way of life, to forge a new society and eventually a nation. Changing from a slave society and economy to a free society and market economy came under provisions that considered the interest of the proprietors ahead of the welfare of freed people. While planters got compensated for losing their free labour, the former enslaved received no compensation for centuries of forced labour. While there were attempts at providing education, the planter class kept wages low, taxes high, and made land access challenging…

Prime Minister Statement at the 9th Summit of Americas in Los Angeles, California 10th June 2022

June, 13 2022
Theme: Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future Excellencies, Colleague Heads It is a pleasure to be here in the wonderful city of Los Angeles for this Ninth Summit of the Americas, and to join fellow leaders from across the hemisphere, recommitting to our shared values, forging new solutions to common challenges, and undertaking realistic actions in support of Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future. I thank the United States and the City of Los Angeles, for the arrangements made to host this significant Summit. I also commend the Biden-Harris Administration for its leadership of the Summit process, and for its general posture of listening and paying attention to the particular concerns and challenges of small developing states within the hemisphere. Excellencies, The COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, the conflict in Europe and the consequential impact on supply chains, food and energy security, are challenging the order of the world as we know it.  All the countries here, regardless of economic size and institutional maturity, have been affected by the same challenges. These challenges have led to the erosion of hard-won developmental gains. While, thankfully, Jamaica has been able to see some sustained growth over 6 quarters, predicted levels of…

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Labour Day Message 2022

June, 01 2022
Our workers are the backbone of our country; they keep the wheels of our economy turning. We know that our continued economic recovery is dependent on our people, and we are committed to preserving the hard-won rights and liberties of the Jamaican worker to include, proper wages and working conditions. The Government is actively pursuing ways to increase workers’ benefits, for example, we are examining the feasibility of implementing Unemployment Insurance in Jamaica, to assist workers who become unemployed, through no fault of their own. This would temporarily provide workers with partial income relief while they search for new employment. Additionally, Unemployment Insurance support would facilitate the acquisition of new skills to increase and improve their employability in the job market. Of course, the most important role of government for workers is to ensure that the economy is growing and generating employment. Jamaica is recovering from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy is growing, and more and more jobs have been created.  Jamaica’s unemployment rate of 6.2% in January 2022 is the lowest ever recorded in Jamaica’s history.  In spite of turbulent times, Jamaica is still heading in the right direction.  This shows the strength of our macroeconomy and…

Keynote Address By The Most Honourable Andrew Holness ON, PC, MP Prime Minister of Jamaica At the Groundbreaking Ceremony, Union Acres On May 20, 2022

May, 20 2022
Thank you very much, Trevor. All the protocols are observed. I'm also observing the COVID protocols, and I wish to commend the NHT in putting on this ceremony in ensuring that everyone is adequately spaced, that 90% of the crowd here gathered is in masks and that all the other infection, prevention and control measures are complied with even though we're not mandated by law anymore, but just being responsible corporate citizens in ensuring that our actions do not contribute to any spread. By now everyone would know that we are in the fifth wave. I can however take my mask off because I'm quite some distance away from the audience. Having said all of that, let me greet everyone and say how happy I am again to be in the parish of St James. I was here last week but in a different constituency doing other things but now I'm here in my capacity as the Minister of Housing to treat with housing matters. One other thing I would say director of protocol Berbick, is that in our ceremonies we should really try to keep them very short and I noticed that sometimes the Master of Ceremony, the Director…


May, 12 2022
The Government of Jamaica nominated Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth. A decision on appointment to that leadership position will be made collectively by Heads of State and Government at their meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda in the week of 20th June 2022. The nomination was put forward in a context where a change of leadership was clearly deemed desirable by Member States across regions. In fact, over time, two Member States (Kenya and Tuvalu) announced candidatures for the post of Secretary-General, signalling the pursuit of change by two regions (Africa and the Pacific). Kenya’s candidature was recently withdrawn, with an expressed hope that another candidate would come forward. Jamaica’s final decision to put forward the candidature of its Foreign Minister, Senator Johnson Smith was made in this context, and on the strength of the Government’s confidence that she has the full range of competencies to effectively lead the Commonwealth agenda, at this time. In recent weeks, Minister Johnson Smith has engaged with high-level leadership across five Commonwealth regions. She has been greatly encouraged by quiet and public expressions of support, as well as discussions,…


February, 10 2022
Throne Speech 2022

Keynote Address – Opening Ceremony for Jamaica Stock Exchange 17th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference On January 25, 2022

January, 27 2022
Thank you very much, Michael Anthony Cuffe. Let me acknowledge Pastor Adrian Johnson for his prayers earlier on. I know you probably have online the Honourable Phillip Pierre, Prime Minister of St Lucia and there might be other dignitaries online. Let me acknowledge Senator the Honourable Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce. Mr Denzel Douglas, Leader of the Opposition of St Kitts and Nevis. Paula Cox, Minister of Finance, former premier of Bermuda Other members of the diplomatic corps and the consular corps Mr Julian Mair, Chairman of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Members of the board of the Jamaica Stock Exchange And the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) Mr Steven Gooden, Chief Executive Officer, NCB Capital Markets Dr Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Our good friend, Mr Gregory Fisher, managing director and head of Emerging Markets, Fixed Income & Wealth Management at Jefferies And Mr David Zervos, Managing Director Chief Market Strategist of Jeffries Heads of regional stock exchanges, executive chairmen and heads of private sector groups Mr Andre Gooden, Group Business Development Manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Specially invited guests Members of the media Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. And you thought I was going to do this, keep my…

Official Opening of the New Headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on January 19, 2022

January, 27 2022
I can report, but all protocols have been observed. There is an argument circulating, which I thought was complete, that there are no measures in place to address the current wave but when I entered this place, I sanitized my hands which is required and which most businesses do, and I encourage them to continue to do so. I noticed the physical distance maintained in gatherings and that is still required under the DRMA. I noticed that great effort was made to ensure that no more than 50 persons are gathered here. I did not ask the permanent secretary as to whether or not they were all vaccinated, but the rule for government events are that everyone who is present must certify their vaccination status, meaning present your vaccination card beforehand, and I see the permanent secretary nodding that the rule was followed. And I noticed that everyone is wearing their mask but in a specific way, I noticed that even at the microphone, which it is permitted that if you were singing or speaking, we could allow the removal of the mask. We had a lovely song presented and the singer kept her mask on and did an excellent…