With 43-year-old Andrew Holness taking the helm of government in Jamaica for the second time, his new Cabinet was sworn in on Monday.
The new prime minister, who took the oath of office and the oath of allegiance during his inauguration last Thursday, created history in 2011 when, at age 39, he became Jamaica’s ninth and youngest prime minister.
He was appointed after Bruce Golding resigned as prime minister and served from October 2011 to January 2012.
With the Jamaica Labor Party’s victory in the Feb. 25 polls, he received his first electoral mandate from the Jamaican people, and with it, the distinction of being the youngest person to be twice sworn in to the most powerful executive position in Jamaica’s political directorate.
Holness is also the first person born in Jamaica’s post-independence era to serve as prime minister. He was born 10 years after the country gained independence in 1962.
Also notable is that Holness is the first prime minister whose spouse will also serve as a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives during the same parliamentary term.
Juliet Holness, in her first general election outing, successfully contested the East Rural St. Andrew constituency during the 2016 parliamentary polls, while Holness retained the West Central St. Andrew seat.
In delivering his inaugural speech on March 3, Holness indicated that he intends to lead a government of partnership, pointing out that the “solutions to our problems do not rest with the government alone.”
“To achieve the vision of shared prosperity through inclusive growth and meaningful job creation, now more than ever, government must lead, activate, empower and build real partnerships,” he emphasized.
“The sum of our potential exceeds our problems; our collective capabilities are greater than our challenges. But it is only through partnership that these capabilities and this potential can be seized, harnessed and realized for the good of Jamaica,” he added.
In this regard, Holness extended an invitation to former prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who will now serve as leader of the opposition, to work with him.
“We may not have been on the same side of the road; [but] as much as possible, we should hold hands in cooperation to overcome obstacles for the good of the country. I still believe it is a useful symbol of national unity for the prime minister and the leader of the opposition to appear together in zones of political exclusions,” he stated.