Prime Minister opposes the drumbeat of migration with a tone of patriotism | Main stories


Prime Minister Andrew Holness has rallied the body of young professionals of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) to instill patriotism in young people of working age as public debate rages on migration trends.

While acknowledging that Jamaicans in a free economy and society had a right to self-determination, he relied on moral suasion to pressure the efforts of his six-year administration.

Holness, who is also the leader of the JLP, has used his bullying pulpit to counter the vociferous narrative of migrationists, appealing to national pride and ambitious goals for Jamaica as a place of choice to live, work, raise families and doing business.

“You are our patriots! It is you who will have to build Jamaica. And many of you will come back to Jamaica if you migrate to build,” said Holness, who delivered the keynote address at the Generation 2000 Central Executive meeting at the Portmore HEART Academy on Saturday.

“But those of you who decide to stay, let’s get our hands dirty. Let’s think positively and creatively, think generously and do our part to build the Jamaican dream.

His comments come amid public fury over controversial remarks by Montego Bay Deputy Mayor Richard Vernon, who called expats who seek jobs abroad with no intention of developing their homeland “cowards”.

Vernon has faced intense backlash at home and abroad, with critics saying the Jamaican economy is uncompetitive because overseas assignments offer superior pay and benefits.

Labor exodus has also been in the news due to anecdotal reports of worrying resignations from the island’s teaching staff, but the Minister of Education has said in the past that talking about exodus during years was incorrect.

Part of J’can’s story

The prime minister sought to frame migration as “part of Jamaican history”, resulting in a diaspora that would be similar in size to the indigenous population.

While worrying about the brain drain, Holness said expatriates gave Jamaica a strategic advantage, including remittances that helped keep poor households afloat. Remittances to Jamaica in 2021 amounted to approximately US$3.4 billion.

Meanwhile Robert Morgan, who also spoke at the Central Executive meeting, lambasted opposition education spokesman Damion Crawford as a failed politician.

And the partisan crowd agreed, saying facetiously that Crawford’s greatest accomplishments were the “goats” and the “eggs.”

Morgan, the Minister without Portfolio for Information, hinted that Crawford should not be taken seriously because he could not stay on message.

“Most people in Jamaica know that in 2015 Crawford encouraged everyone to migrate and in 2022 is complaining about why people migrate,” Morgan said, dismissing attacks on Foreign Minister Kamina. Johnson Smith and Education Minister Fayval Williams.

“…Jamaicans now not only want to hear the cuteness, the noise and the shouting, but they are also interested in the cerebral. They want proper articulation of what the philosophy, the approach, what underlies the direction of your government.

Crawford called for a change of attitude from Williams days before the start of the academic year on September 5, suggesting she should be relieved of her job if she was unable to shift gears.

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