Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Holness: Ja still paying dearly for Manley’s misadventure

Published:Friday | July 10, 2020 | 12:21 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that the country is still paying for ideological missteps of the Michael Manley-led People’s National Party (PNP) administration from 1972 to 1978.

Speaking yesterday at the launch of this year’s Jamaica Labour Party Education Fund scholarships, Holness said the “misadventure of the PNP, which diverted us from the path of economic growth, selling the people of Jamaica false hope and unrealistic dreams”, wasted the gains made by the post-Independence JLP administration ,which it succeeded.

“We had a flirtation with ideologies that were foreign to us and did not serve us well. With all the social problems that needed to be addressed, had we stayed the economic course and ensured that our economy was aligned to the opportunities that were created by the industrial transformations that were taking place, Jamaica would be a better place today,” he insisted.

Holness drew on comparisons with economic progress made by Singapore and South Korea, which, at the time, were worse off than Jamaica. The fundamental difference, he said, was that these countries were not distracted and maintained a steady and balance course, which has served their economies well.

Jamaica, he added, missed out on this era of global development at a time when it was enjoying significant investments in bauxite, tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure, which would have borne fruit had the focus been maintained on our economic independence.

The prime minister also said that he was worried by the trend of young politicians suggesting that Jamaica’s social and economic fortunes are still being dictated by events of the past.

This year, the scholarships pay tribute to four ministers who have served the party and the country. They are the Shahine Robinson Scholarship in Journalism/Communication, the Ken Baugh Scholarship in Epidemiology and Public Health, the Neville Gallimore Scholarship in Mathematics or Economics, and the Dwight Nelson Scholarship in Teacher Education, which must be taken up at a teachers’ college. Applications are now open to Jamaicans between the ages of 17 and 25 who have been accepted to pursue a first degree.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com