So, a month after her husband Andrew Holness was sworn in as Jamaica’s youngest Prime Minister, Juliet is taking her first serious steps into the spotlight of being ‘first lady’ as it were.
And just as we hoped for in our post on the day of Holness’ swearing in, she is being modern about it and using her high profile to drive an ambitious charity project - the Save Our Boys Foundation, which aims to help Jamaica’s legions of mostly male street kids. She did two interviews that appeared in the Sunday papers yesterday where she highlighted her plans.
Juliet told the Jamaica Observer that as a mother of two young boys, she is especially motivated to help these children.
“My plans are well advanced to launch a foundation that addresses the challenges of at-risk youth — the challenge of raising resilient, successful and resourceful boys who become strong, responsible and admirable men… Research shows that an achievement gap exists as boys underperform academically compared to their female counterparts… However, it is not enough to sit on the sidelines as a passive or concerned observer of these maladies. The foundation will develop and implement a comprehensive, multi-faceted intervention programme targeting ‘at-risk’ young Jamaican men between the ages of six and 12.”
When I lived in Jamaica I witnessed these little boys (rarely girls come to think of it) as young as 6 and 7 living on the streets, huddled in front of BK, scrapping to wash your car. It broke my heart and I was always a soft touch for these kids – I could never wrap my mind around the reality of children living on the street. So I’m an enthusiastic cheerleader for this project – I think it’s an excellent initiative for Mrs. Holness to tackle.
She told the Gleaner that she plans to use her links in the construction sector as a developer to establish resource centres for these youths.
She also shared a bit about her relationship with Jamaica’s new PM, her high school sweetheart that she grew up with.
She noted that she was prepared for his political career because he had told her of his intentions from the time they were at UWI together.
“I recall he told me one day on campus ‘you are going to be my wife and I intend to serve in political life, you must choose now if you are able to take on this life because serving my country is important to me’. “
She also revealed his tender side, noting that he doesn’t let them go to sleep angry.
“Even if we have a disagreement and I decide that I am sleeping in the other room, Andrew is coming in the other room to join me because it is not happening. No matter what happens, we make up our minds that by the time we go to bed, we discussed it, we can either agree to disagree, but we are going to be there together.”