PJ calls for unity, reflects on political journey - Former PM launches autobiography 12 years in making
Off the back of a tumultuous week in the halls of Gordon House, where government and opposition members clashed over recent controversial events, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has issued a warning to those at the helm of the country's political affairs.
"We don't want to fracture the movement by a nation for action by the adoption of a style which is confrontationist, adversarial; we need to find ways in which we can unite to build the nation even while we maintain and nurture the democratic system for which both political parties in Jamaica have contributed to making [us] flourish and grow."
Patterson, who was speaking at the launch of his book, My Political Journey: Jamaica's Sixth Prime Minister, on Wednesday evening at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, said he hoped that a national consensus and a national spirit can be fashioned to achieve the best for the country.
"Yes, political rivalry is good, but better still is a unity of purpose in building a simple nation, Jamaica," said Patterson, Jamaica's longest-serving prime minister.
Mentioning the goals of Vision 2030, Patterson told the hundreds of invitees in attendance that "all of Jamaica wants to see us build, succeed and become prosperous".
Addressing the content of the book, published by The University of the West Indies Press, Patterson said that it reflects the abundant satisfaction of being the youngest member of the [Michael] Manley cabinet and that "whatever else is said about the 1970s, it was an exciting time that brought about 'smaddification' of Jamaicans".
The book, Patterson however said, does not ignore the hurts and disappointments of his political journey.
"Hurdles, we had to clear. One of the harshest things about public life is making sacrifices, and instead of appreciation, you become the subject of tarnishing and abuse. It hurts," he said.
"You will read times when I had to consider whether I wanted to be in the political process," Patterson added.
"But we have to realise opportunities are investments, and those of us who benefit must plough back," he further charged.
The former prime minister disclosed that it took him 12 years to produce the book, though it was his intention to write it immediately after retiring from public office in 2006.