Andrew Michael Holness was born on the 22nd of July 1972 in Spanish Town, St Catherine, the youngest and second shortest person to become a Prime Minister in Jamaica. He is also the former Minister with responsibility for Electoral Matters and the former Leader of Government Business in the House of Parliament, both positions he held between 2008 and October 2011.
He is married to Juliet, a chartered accountant and businesswoman and they have two boys Adam and Matthew. He served as the former Minister of Education also. He attended the University of the West Indies where he attained a Master of Science degree in Development Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Studies.
Prior to entering representative politics in 1997, Mr. Holness worked extensively in many inner city communities while he was the executive director of the Voluntary Organization for Uplifting Children (VOUCH), one of Jamaica’ oldest Non-Government Organizations.
While in opposition in 1995, then leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), the Most Hon. Edward Seaga invited Mr. Holness to be his personal assistant. Holness was given the responsibility of developing social investment and poverty reduction policies for the JLP.
Mr. Holness has served as shadow minister for the JLP in areas of social welfare, community development and housing. He was the Opposition Spokesperson on Education before the 2007 general election.
He has also served as Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives and, by extension, the man responsible for electoral matters in that chamber since 2008. Holness in his 15th year of representational politics was sworn in by affirmation on Sunday October 23, 2011 as Jamaica’s ninth Prime Minister.
Since his official entry onto Jamaica’s political landscape, Mr. Holness has carried the hopes and dreams of many Jamaicans that a new, inclusive, prospective politics will emerge in Jamaican society. He has worked at all levels of the political system, and has patiently garnered significant knowledge and political capital.
He also brought national attention and focuses to Literacy and has instituted several programmes to place Jamaica on the path to universal literacy at the primary level. Under his watch Jamaica has seen the introduction of the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), designed as a post secondary technical and vocational training programme for otherwise unattached youth.
Mr. Holness has demonstrated a missionary like capacity to take on national issues even those that may appear controversial. His positions on issues such as parenting and the death penalty have not always mirrored the national view.
However, his endearing articulate manner and his non-confrontational style of interface and communication have won him the respect of even those who oppose him. As a result he has been able to maintain independent positions, transcend the political divide, and be a leading voice in important national and social issues even outside of his portfolio.
Andrew Holness is a humble man with great dreams for his country, a man who enjoys being with his family and playing games like chess. He has two sisters and three brothers.