Wed | Apr 8, 2020

Holness may surpass Manley as political face of Caribbean

Published:Saturday | October 12, 2019 | 12:16 AM


I was a young, wide-eyed girl at a universty in London when I was smitten by the revolutionary Michael Manley. He towered above all other Caribbean leaders, figuratively and literally. He was highly respected on the world stage.

Since Manley, however, there hasn’t been another Caribbean leader who has had significant international exposure or recognition. Having observed Andrew Holness over these last few years, he is poised to surpass Manley as the international Caribbean voice.

There is a buzz about Prime Minister Holness and Jamaica in the United Nations and among other multilateral agencies. Jamaica has an excellent foreign minister. Kamina Johnson Smith is to Jamaican diplomacy what Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is to athletics.

Prime Minister Holness is not a revolutionary like Manley, but were I a young, wide-eyed girl again, I may still have been smitten. He is sober and conservative, not intimidating and troublesome to the establishment. Nevertheless, he is quick intellectually and quite charismatic, but not as nauseatingly charming as his contemporary Justin Trudeau.

Jamaica is being watched closely, and people are just rooting for the country to succeed. It was no surprise that at the recently concluded UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Holness was asked to speak at so many events, standing shoulder to shoulder with world leaders.

Prime Minister Holness is still a young man with great potential ahead. He is becoming a leading voice on climate change and the poster boy for good fiscal management. This is giving Jamaica visibility and access that the Government should leverage.