Time for Jamaica to move towards Republic status, was one of the issues raised by Jamaica’s new Prime Minister in her inaugural address at her official swearing in ceremony.
Presenting the facts, learning from the past, working to right wrongs and insisting on accountability were some of the other key concerns outlined by, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in her address.
Portia Simpson Miller leader of the Peoples National Party, PNP became Jamaican Prime Minister for a second time as she took the oath of office at the swearing in Thursday January 5 2012, at Kings House, Kingston.
The PNP leader was sworn in as Jamaica’s first woman Prime Minister in 2006 when she took over from Prime Minister P.J. Patterson when he stepped down and Simpson Miller won a leadership contest in the party.
This however is her first time as Prime Minister with a mandate from the people that came with the then opposition party’s convincing win in the December 29 2011 election.
She was not without words from the bible in this address, underlining her own religious faith. She thanked God and the Jamaican people and said that she was humbled that she had been chosen to lead the country at such a crossroads. She also thanked her family at home and abroad for their support.
In her address she gave clear signals of some priorities for the government, among these she spoke of keeping a tight check on the finances, whilst still working to improve the lives of people and the importance of making it easier to do business in the country.
She promised initiatives in job growth, improvements to the environment and pledged it would be done transparently and in a non-partisan manner. Assessing the state of the country’s economy and looking at a basis for a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund were also identified as important tasks.
She also clearly stated that the government wants to move towards making the Caribbean Court of Justice the final appellate court for Jamaica. Following on comments made in the election debate she said that it is time to look at full independence and sovereignty and at a republic status and an indigenous head of state.
A present theme in the address was inclusion, togetherness in terms of the nation, the diaspora and political adversaries,
The Governor General conducted the swearing in in front to of an audience of foreign dignitaries, politicians, academics and business people and party members and an even larger audience listening on radio watching on television, cable and via the internet.
The event included prayers, cultural presentations and a performance of “Strength of a Woman” by recording artist Shaggy.
With the swearing in of ministers expected over the next few days, this event takes the party out of election victory mode and into the work of government in earnest. What happens from here on in, will serve to mark the style and substance of Portia Simpson Millers leadership of the country and the team she brings with her into a period that is likely to have its fair share of challenges and difficulties for the nation and people alike.