Andrew Holness, JLP release ‘responsive’ 2020 manifesto ahead of national debates

Prime Minister Andrew Holness officially makes his case for a second term in power with the launch of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) 2020 manifesto at its Belmont Road headquarters in Kingston on Tuesday. Also pictured (from left) are JLP campaign manager Olivia Grange, as well as official spokespersons Kamina Johnson Smith and Dr Nigel Clarke. (Photo: Twitter @JLPJamaica)

The ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has declared its intentions to lead the country out of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with a 102-page manifesto ahead of the September 3 general elections.

The 2020 manifesto, released on Tuesday (August 25), touches on several issues of national concern from housing, social infrastructure and welfare to a digitisation of central government all of which are achievable and long overdue, according to JLP Leader Andrew Holness.

Holness, launching the manifesto at the JLP’s Belmont Road headquarters in Kingston, called the document ‘ambitious’. He assured that a second term in office would put the people of Jamaica and the wider economy on track to recovery.

“We have placed Jamaica in a better position to overcome challenges. If you put our track record together with how we have managed this crisis, has built significant political trust capital – and capital our government intends to protect,” Holness said.

“We intend to project that [trust] in a manifesto that, by definition has to be ambitious, but you don’t [aim to] overwhelm, particularly in a crisis. We have struggled long and hard to resist the temptation with wild and unrealistic promises. We have, however, still provided the ambition, the aspiration, something that is directional but something you know is practical,” he added.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness holds a physical copy of the JLP’s 2020 manifesto. Flanked by campaign manager Olivia Grange as well as official spokespersons Kamina Johnson Smith and Dr Nigel Clarke. (Photo: Twitter @AndrewHolnessJM)

At the same time, Holness chided political opponents, the People’s National Party (PNP), for delivering what he called ‘unrealistic promises’.

 “If we go ahead and make outlandish promises outlandish commitments in our manifesto, the question will come back to haunt us, ‘Can the people trust what we say?’,” he asked.

Prime Minister Holness declared that the 2020 manifesto is achievable and the right direction for Jamaica given the “overarching context of the worst health pandemic in 100 years and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression”.

“A new JLP government will ensure accountable governance that promotes unity and partnership while faithfully serving all Jamaicans. Our ambitious agenda going forward will focus on recovering stronger and ensuring our economic output is restored to pre-COVID levels in the shortest period of time and that our recovered economy is more diversified and even more resilient,” he declared.

Holness contended that the JLP’s ambition is to have “all Jamaicans working again” at the same or even greater levels of employment seen in January 2020.

Read the JLP manifesto in full by clicking here.