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Holness stoutly defends his ‘big house’ … Every poor man must (strive to) build a big house

Published:Tuesday | November 24, 2015 | 11:00 AMAdrian Frater
Andrew Holness' house.
Andrew Holness addressing a meeting in South East St Elizabeth on November 19.
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Western Bureau:

While declaring that he had not planned to respond to Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, who has criticised the house he is building on the campaign trail, with what appeared to be control rage, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness said the house was the product of ambition and hard work.

He said it should be the ambition of every poor man in Jamaica to build a big house.

Speaking at a Jamaica Labour Party meeting in Granville, St James, on Sunday, Holness told Labourites that he came from humble beginnings, born to a farmer and his civil-servant wife.

"I was born in a two-bedroom board house at 56 Cumberland Road in Spanish Town, down the road from the Grass Piece Market," said Holness, to the wild cheers. "I never born with any gold spoon inna my mouth. I know what it is to go to school and nuh have no lunch money, but my parents teach me to have pride ... . Dem seh don't beg and don't mek anybody know when you in need. I never beg none of dem nothing."

It would appear that Holness' staunch defence of the house, which he and his wife have been building for some time, was not the wish of his mother, who he said had told him not to get into any arguments on the matter.

"I was not going to answer Peter Phillips, although people want to hear me answer him," said Holness. "I promise my mother that me nah mek nobody draw mi tongue, and worst of all, I nah go mek no man draw my tongue."

According to the opposition leader, he saw no good reason why anyone should be "bad-minded" about the house he is building because it is all the product of the hard work, wise investment and prudent financial decisions.

PRODUCT OF HARD WORK

"It is education and hard work that has taken me to where I am today - that along with the help of caring parents, caring families and caring friends," noted Holness. "You will neva hear me bad-mind nobody about their FINSAC house."

In speaking to what he intimated was prudent financing and smart planning, Holness said he believes in building brick by brick to get the best value, especially with his wife's expertise in architecture.

According to Holness, it should be the ambition of every poor man in Jamaica to build big house, arguing that a man's house is his castle.

"The Labour Party believe that every poor man must build his castle. Every poor man must [strive to] build a big house, and we nah grudge him fi dat. We a go help him fi achieve that," said Holness.

Prior to Holness' defence of his house, the usually combative finance shadow minister, Audley Shaw, also took on the opposition leader's critics.

"It should be the dream of every Jamaican to have a nice house," said Shaw. "I give them fair warning: Don't trouble Andrew's house, or you going to find out something, because if you live inna glass house, don't throw stone."

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com