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‘Jamaica, The Way Forward’, a compilation of speeches made by the nations five prime ministerial hopefuls, was officially launched yesterday (Feb. 16) at the Social Sciences lecture theatre on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The presentations, which were made by Local Government, Community Development and Sport Minister, Portia Simpson Miller; National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips; Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies; Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland, Dr. Karl Blythe; and Opposition Leader, Bruce Golding, were made at a political leadership forum, which was organised by the Department of Government, the Mona School of Business, SALIES and the Centre for Leadership and Governance, at UWI last year.
Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the UWI, Professor Rex Nettleford, who was the guest speaker at the book launch, observed that, “between the covers, there is much to glean, digest and reflect on.”
Professor Nettleford told the audience that he was struck by the clear appreciation on the part of all contenders, of the harsh realities of contemporary Jamaican life, notably such negative elements as crime and violence, as well as “the sense of hopelessness evident in many, in the absence of sustained employment that can have them enjoy affordable housing and accessible healthcare”.
He noted that the statements of the aspiring leaders “all reflect some grasp of the urgency of the obligations ahead on the way forward.but what is impressive about this publication are the questions asked by the university audiences, many students among them.”
According to Professor Nettleford, the publication would help the reader to know the “manner of persons the contenders seeking to be elected Prime Minister were”.
“For in the final analysis, we are governed by human beings with all the normal attributes and weaknesses of the ordinary human being,” he added.
“The thumbnail sketches at the beginning of each statement followed by questions and answers will certainly help but only barely. The reader must be willing to delve deeper into the body of the text and find what is credible, attainable and trustworthy,” Professor Nettleford said further.
He encouraged students of government and politics and persons, who considered themselves stakeholders, to get a copy of the publication.