Jamaica former Prime Minister PJ Patterson launches book

Hundreds of persons from a wide cross section of the society turned out at The Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston for Wednesday’s (December 12) launch of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson’s latest publication, ‘My Political Journey’.

Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen headed the dignitaries and other guests witnessing the unveiling of the 416-page publication, which was produced by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Press.

The book chronicles memoirs of the private and public exploits of Patterson, who served as Jamaica’s sixth Prime Minister for 14 years, from 1992 to 2006.

Other officials attending included Finance and Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, who represented Prime Minister Hon. Andrew Holness; former Prime Ministers, Edward Seaga and wife, Carla Seaga and Hon. Portia Simpson Miller as well as past Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentarians; and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

The book was formally launched by UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who along with former Ministers serving under Mr. Patterson’s administration, Ambassador Burchell Whiteman, and Mrs. Maxine Henry-Wilson, paid glowing tribute to the distinguished author.

The ceremony also featured video presentations with local, regional and global leaders paying tribute to the former Prime Minister.

In his response, Mr. Patterson said much of the book’s content is based on papers that he contributed to the UWI, of which he is a graduate, as well as his recollections.

He indicated that while the publication provides snippets of his private life, it delves more extensively into his political career, from his entry during the 1950s, his tenure in representational politics and as a Cabinet Minister and Prime Minister, through to his retirement in 2006.

“During the course of my long career, I have had moments of despair and moments of joy. I have met individuals of international stature and humble folk whose goodness shone through, despite what others may have perceived as hopeless circumstances,” Mr. Patterson said.

He noted that the book also highlights, to a lesser extent, his engagements in law, which led to his elevation to the prestigious position of Queen’s Counsel.

“Perhaps if I can be persuaded to do some more writing, I would like to speak much more extensively about my experience in the law and the development of the Bar,” he added.

Mr. Patterson expressed the hope that “in recounting my political journey, there will be an addition to the written record which will inform the future of those I had the privilege to lead and to serve”.

“But even more so, that it might inspire others to make their own distinctive contribution in order to be mindful of our past, conscious of the present and determined to ensure better for the future,” he added.

For her part, UWI Pro Vice Chancellor and Open Campus Principal, Dr. Luz Longsworth, described the publication as a “magnificent project” that coincided with the University’s 70th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the UWI Press, which she chairs.