Holness links party affiliation to his upbringing by Mom Says JLP believes in hard work and discipline

News post October 5, 2015

Labourites cheer Opposition Leader Andrew Holness during is address last Thursday. (PHOTOS: GREGORY BENNETT)

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness struck an unusually personal note when he addressed Labourites in this central highlands town last Thursday at the latest in his party’s ‘Poverty to Prosperity’ series.

Seeking to underline what he said were essential differences between the JLP and the ruling People’s National Party (PNP), Holness framed his arguments in the context of his own childhood and upbringing.

“I was born on the 22nd of July 1972. My father is a die-hard Socialist, and my mother is a die-hard Labourite,” Holness told supporters in the conference hall of Manchester High School.

“At the age of 14 when I go spend time with my father, I am reading Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, an essay on socialism and communism.

“And when I go back to Spanish Town, my mother tell me save, study hard, work hard, don’t beg, don’t grudge nobody, be disciplined. That is the core principle and philosophy of a Labourite,” Holness said to loud and prolonged cheers.

The 19th century German economist and philosopher Karl Marx and his countryman, Friedrich Engels, are routinely considered as founders of that stream of socialist theory referred to as Marxism. Marx’s classic Das Kapital is a landmark socialist critique of capitalist economy.

Holness also contextualised his own Christian names, Andrew Michael.

“When I was born in 1972, my father wanted to call me Michael and my mother said ‘no way, it’s Andrew Michael’,” he said.

“I am who I am today because my fundamental beliefs are in a system of merit, a system of hard work, that if you play by the rules you may be rewarded, that if you work hard you will be rewarded,” he said.

“We (JLP) believe in Creating wealth and sharing prosperity, and not creating poverty and sharing up poverty; and we are not ashamed to say we want to create wealth and make this country better. It is the thinking that has held us back as a people and that thinking has been cultivated and promoted by the PNP philosophy that has caused a pall of doom and gloom on the country for far too long. I am here to lift that pall…,” said Holness.

Back in 2011, Holness’s father, Morris Holness, a resident of St Elizabeth, told the Sunday Observer that his son’s middle name was the result of his admiration for PNP icon Michael Manley, who became prime minister in 1972 on a platform of ‘Better must come’.

Manley would later advocate democratic socialism, building strong links with neighbouring Cuba and other socialist countries, and attracting the ire of the United States and its Western allies at the height of the so-called Cold War.

The senior Holness, who in 2011 described himself as a Christian Socialist, had also said at the time that his son was an avid reader as a boy.

“As he comes to the house… he grabs a book,” Morris Holness said in 2011 of his young son’s visits to his home in St Elizabeth.

Holness told Labourites in Mandeville on Thursday that the next parliamentary election which is constitutionally due in over a year, but which many are expecting before the end of 2015, will address the “issues” despite what he said were PNP efforts to “trick” the people.

“This election is about changing the conversation from poverty to prosperity. This election is about uplifting the people. This election will be fought on the issues, if I have to walk to every single community and every single house to preach the doctrine and gospel…,” he said.

Against the backdrop of what he said was the PNP’s tendency to try to “trick” people, Holness urged Jamaicans to consider why the PNP were set on an early election.

“If everything is fine and everything is going well, why call an [early] election, why not just wait [till elections constitutionally become due] why? I ask Jamaicans to think about that,” said Holness.

He recalled that in late 2011 when he served for a brief period as prime minister at the tailend of the JLP Administration, he had not attempted to trick Jamaicans.

“When I stood on the platform and I had to face the balls being bowled by IMF (International Monetary Fund), I did not seek to trick the people of Jamaica,” he said.

“I want to bring the citizens along with me, I don’t want to fool the people of Jamaica… I don’t want to sing you a lullaby… I know the people of this country are tired of lullaby being sung to them…” Holness said.



Published by: The Observer

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