PM Holness Raises Concerns About Efforts To Make Patois An Official Language

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Stevian Simmonds reports.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is again raising concerns about the renewed push to have patois recognized as an official language in Jamaica.

The Prime Minister says he’s worried that patois activists are suggesting that the country should abandon English in favour of the local dialect.

He was addressing youth parliamentarians recently on the renewed advocacy to make patois the country’s other official language alongside English.

Prime Minister Holness says while there is no attempt to diminish the value of patois, there needs to be focus on our failure as a people to grasp the English language.

As part of celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of Miss Lou’s birth, the Jamaica Language Unit has launched a petition to get Parliament to declare Jamaican Creole an official language.

The petition to ask Parliament to pass legislation to grant official status to the Jamaican language alongside English, started on November one and needs fifteen thousand signatures, by December 10.

But, Prime Minister Holness is again raising concerns.

The Prime Minister says language is a powerful tool for access to education, commerce and international opportunities.

And, he says people’s focus should be on becoming multi-lingual.

Mr Holness says all employment prospects are dependent on mastering languages, including English.



Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.


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