Letter of the day: Integration a fleeting and elusive dream - Holness
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Amid the ensuing public debate regarding proposed changes to our Constitution, I feel compelled to affirm that I am a nationalist; always have been, always will be.
For me, it's Jamaica first. I am unapologetic in the view that our priority as a people should be to consider and pursue that which is in Jamaica's best interest at all times.
I do not come from the school of those who chase after a fleeting and elusive dream called integration. The people spoke on this matter 54 years ago and decided against sharing our sovereignty in any Federal arrangement. Our parents decided on an Independent Jamaica. There are those who have not got over that decision and would want to use their control and influence in the media to push a covert agenda of integration, in subversion I contend, of what was already decided by the people.
As one born in the era of Independence, I remain faithful to the decision of the referendum of 1961 which created modern Jamaica. Any move, therefore, to share our sovereignty or alter the political definition of the Jamaican state must be brought back to the people. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), among other issues, such as the promise of the prime minister to review the Buggery Act, profoundly impact the society. I have long proposed that a grand referendum be held to once and for all decide these issues which can fundamentally change the legal and political foundations and definition of our society and nation.
I hold the view that Jamaica is in such a precarious economic and social situation that all our efforts should be focused on the priority issues, instead of wasting political energy on the resurrection of some unrealised dream of generations past. If these issues are of such great priority, then let the people decide. Otherwise, let's focus our political energies on securing our economic independence. Let's focus on ending poverty, bringing prosperity to our people, controlling the scourge of crime in our land, or even the most basic of things; bringing a bush fire under control.
Andrew Holness, MP
Leader of the Opposition