Andrew Holness the friend: Fabian Brown shares professional friendship with new PM
When Prime Minister Andrew Holness was sworn in yesterday, Fabian Brown was quietly working behind the scenes to ensure that everything went smoothly.
Brown, who was a key member of the protocol team at the inauguration ceremony, has been a confidant of Holness since they began working together in the 1990s.
Holness was, at the time, executive director of the Voluntary Organisation for the Upliftment of Children (VOUCH), while Brown was doing his stint as the first executive director of St Patrick's Foundation. Given that they were both working in the area of youth and community development, it was not long before their paths crossed.
When Holness became member of Parliament for West Central St Andrew in 1997, his association with Brown deepened and evolved into a professional friendship. That friendship has seen Holness through every period of his political career, even the most tumultuous moments.
As a founding member of Citizens Action For Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE), Brown was one of the first witnesses to the birth of Holness' political career. As Holness returns to Jamaica House with his own mandate, Brown has seen him in triumph and defeat and has witnessed what he describes as "the growth of the man who will be primus inter pares".
"Coming out of the social services sector, through business, into politics, into ministerial responsibility and elevated to be leader of the country, certainly, he has stood tall. As with any human being, he was disappointed when he suffered the defeat, but who I see in this gentleman is someone who has been through the storm ... the journey has been one of growth," Brown said.
Even in the dark days of Holness' political life when he faced a bitter leadership struggle within his Jamaica Labour Party, Brown was there to offer support and encouragement.
"Andrew Holness is a family man. He is a man of faith, and during that period is when, if never before, he dug deep and reached to his innermost sense of what he believes in so much so that he was able to stand tall despite the battering that was coming from various quarters," Brown added.
According to Brown, Holness has encouraged and supported him throughout his own personal and professional challenges.
"I would recognise the many days of challenges in terms of my work within the community development programme and service sector and how overwhelming that work was at times. He would intervene and expound on the value and impact of what I am doing and its major ripple effect through communities. He would let me know that while I may have challenges in particular instances, there is enough good, and that good penetrates a number of different communities, so the focus must be that I continue to do what I am doing," he said.