KINGSTON — King's House, the official home of Jamaica's Head of State, the Governor- General, His Excellency the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, was abuzz with activity Saturday (October 22), as rehearsals for Sunday's swearing-in, as well as installation of equipment kept going throughout the day and into the night.
Chairs, lights, platforms and tents were being put in place by workmen, while news crews, security and hospitality personnel, as well as performers, acclimatized themselves with the proceedings planned for Sunday (October 23).
About 4,000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony. The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) will be streaming the ceremony live from on website, www.jis.gov.jm. Outside broadcast facilities to assist other broadcast media will be provided by the JIS, which will also be arranging the areas of coverage for producers, presenters, writers, photographers and other media personnel involved with the function.
Police personnel will be in place from early afternoon, to assist persons attending the ceremony and to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
Members of the general public attending the swearing-in are advised that motor vehicles will be admitted through the East King's House Road gate only. The traffic police have also reminded motorists that no parking will be allowed on East King's House Road, Hope Road, Kingsway and West King's House Road.
Outgoing Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding, took office on September 11, 2007 after the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won the General Election eight days earlier. He had been Leader of the Opposition since September, 2005.
His successor, the Hon Andrew Michael Holness, became Minister of Education in September 2007. Prior to that, he was the Opposition's Spokesperson on Education. He has also served as Spokesperson on Land and Development (1999-2002) and Housing (2002-2005).
Mr. Holness has represented the constituency of West Central St. Andrew, as Member of Parliament, since 1997. He holds a Masters Degree in Development Studies and a Bachelors Degree in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies.
Throughout his career, Mr. Holness has been actively involved in the area of social welfare, serving as JLP Representative with the Social Policy Evaluation Project (JASPEV) and the National Poverty Eradication Board (NPEB).
His other professional achievements include, serving as special Assistant to Most Hon. Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition; General Manager of Premium Finance Limited; and as Executive Director of the Voluntary Organization for the Uplifting of Children (VOUCH). He also had a brief teaching career at St. Catherine High School.
Mr. Holness, who is from Ensom City, St. Catherine, is married with two sons and is a devoted family man and an avid reader, who particularly enjoys Jamaican literature.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor