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What are the responsibilities of the prime minister of Jamaica?

Andrew Holness, Prime Minister Of Jamaica (2018) - JIS Photo

Andrew Holness, Prime Minister Of Jamaica (2018) - JIS Photo

What are the responsibilities of the prime minister of Jamaica? Answered by Kesha Stewart, Associate Writer.

Did you know that since 1962, Jamaica had nine (9) individuals who have sat at the helm of government? The head of government here is titled Prime Minister and to date, eight (8) of the nine (9) prime minsters in Jamaica have been males.

Who is a Prime Minister?


But who exactly is a prime minister? The prime minister is a politician who is the head of the ruling political party. In Jamaica, the two main political parties are the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP).

The party who wins a general election rules, and the party with the next highest number of seats sit in opposition.

Presently, the JLP is the ruling party on the island of Jamaica and therefore its head, The Most Honourable Andrew Michael Holness, is the Prime Minister of Jamaica.

By the way, he is our youngest prime minister to date.

The Prime Minister heads what is called, the lower house, or House of Representatives. This is where all the Members of Parliament meet for official sittings of the house. The prime minister is a Member of Parliament (MP) representing a constituency which he/she contested and won.

Did you know that the house of representatives in Jamaica is officially named Gordon House in honour of National Hero George William Gordon?

What are the responsibilities of the prime minister of Jamaica?


Of course the job of being PM carries many roles and responsibilities. Even for a small nation like us it is still hard work.

Here are some of the roles and responsibilities of our Prime Minister.

Roles



  1. Gives the policy direction of the government
  2. Represents the Jamaican government overseas
  3. Presides over official visits of heads of states who visits Jamaica
  4. Key spokesperson of the government, locally and internationally


Responsibilities



  1. Defense of Jamaica – he/she serves as the minister of defense. By the way, our army is called the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

  2. Forms and presides over the cabinet – he/she chairs meetings of the cabinet where proposed laws, government policy and other important matters of national concern such as an eminent hurricane are discussed.

  3. Advises the queen on the appointment of the Governor General (GG) - since Queen Elizabeth II is our head of state, a representative called the GG is selected by the PM in consultation with the leader of the opposition.

  4. Appoints the six (6) members of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which is officially Jamaica’s final appellate court.

  5. Advises the Governor General on the dissolution of parliament – parliament is usually dissolved in preparation for general elections which are due every five (5) years.

  6. Advises the governor general on the appointment of the Chief Justice

  7. Nominates thirteen (13) of the twenty-one (21) members of the upper house (senate)

  8. Speaks during the budget debate, and

  9. Advises the Governor General on the persons to be conferred with national honours or awards.


Other Cool Stuff The PM Does


There some cool stuff that the PM does, here are a few:


  1. Can be the patron of special events (private or public) for example, charity events.
  2. Gives special messages to mark certain days or events such as Independence Day, New Years Day, or the anniversary celebration of a private/public entity such as a bank or government agency
  3. Announce the election date
  4. Participate in ground breaking ceremonies
  5. Declare events or buildings officially open
  6. Participate in national celebrations
  7. Travel to other countries and meet with other world leaders
  8. Address summits and conventions such as G15.
  9. Entertain courtesy calls from officials, celebrities and famous people &
  10. Meet with various interest groups


And The Not-So-Cool Stuff?


Unfortunately, The PM is also called to directly address escalated matters of national importance such as.

  • corruption
  • crime and violence, and
  • wage negotiations


The position of a Prime Minister may seem enviable to onlookers. We often think it’s glamorous but it really involves long hours of real work.

Imagine arriving from a trip to China and upon your arrival at the airport you are scheduled for a press conference, you then rush off to meet with business leaders, followed by a meeting with the IMF representative and boom you get home with stacks of paperwork on bills and policy positions to review. Not so glamorous is it?

Would you want to be the PM Jamaica?

Me? I’m I sticking to my day job.

Other Important Notes On Jamaica's Prime Minister



How To Address The Prime Minister


Prime ministers, past and present, may be addressed as The Most Honourable.

To address our present prime minister one could say, “The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica”.

This individual is accorded the second highest honour which can be accorded to a Jamaican citizen, the order of the nation. The highest honour is of course the Order of National Hero (titled the Right Excellent).


Where Does the Prime Minster of Jamaica Live?


Vale Royal is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Jamaica. This picturesque property is located on Montrose Road, in capital city Kingston.

Where Does the Prime Minster of Jamaica Work?


The official workplace of the PM is Jamaica House. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is located there.

All ministries which are under the PM headship are to be found there as well. You will find this building on Devon Road in Kingston. Of course the PM has to attend parliamentary sittings at Gordon House, as is required of a member of parliament (MP). He also visits and interacts with his constituents and travel around the island to meet everyday people or to do official duties.

How can I contact the Prime Minister of Jamaica?


Is it your desire to communicate with the prime minster? Here are a few options to help you get in touch with him.

Website: www.opm.gov.jm
Email: primeminister@opm.gov.jm
Tel.: 1-876-927-9941-3
Mailing Address: Office of The Prime Minister 1 Devon Road, Kingston 10

I hope this helps!

See also: Who Runs Jamaica?.

Kesha Stewart
Associate Writer

August 2018

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