|Jamaica’s PM Golding to resign|
|Sunday, 25 September 2011 20:09|
In a shocking statement from Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) spokesman and Jamaican Minister of Information, Daryl Vaz, it was announced that Prime Minister and JLP leader Bruce Golding will not seek re-election at the party's annual general conference in November. Vaz made the announcement on Sunday afternoon.
According to the statement, Golding told the JLPs Central Executive he will step down as prime minister as soon as a new leader has been elected, which is expected to be at the conference. He was speaking at the JLP quarterly meeting held at Belmont Road earlier that day.
The statement indicated "Golding said he had planned to lead the party into a second term of government and demit office within two years thereafter. He said the challenges of the last four years have taken their toll and it was appropriate now to make way for new leadership to continue the program of economic recovery and transformation while mobilizing the party for victory in the next general elections."
Two members of the JLP executive, speaking to the National Weekly on condition of anonymity, said that they had "no prior indication" that Golding planned to retire, "at least not before the 2012 general elections."
Other JLP non-executive members said that they were not surprised at the announcement, as "Golding was under severe pressure to step aside from forces within the party, ever since the Christopher "Dudus" Coke and the related Manatt Law firm business last year."
Between 2010 and 2011 Golding dithered for months before agreeing to extradite Coke to the United States on the request of that nation's government. His delay resulted in a public outcry for his resignation from a cross section of the Jamaican public. That outcry grew worse when Golding denied involvement, as disclosed by former People's National Party (PNP) Minister of National Security Peter Phillips, of his administration's involvement in retaining Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, the New York law firm, to intercede in the U.S. extradition request. Weeks after making this denial, Golding admitted he had instructed the JLP, not the government of Jamaica, to retain Manatt.
In May 2010, Golding came extremely close to resigning, but was persuaded not to by the rank and file of the JLP.
However, subsequent events including the Manatt/Dudus Commission of Enquiry, during which Golding was aggressively cross examined by PNP attorney K.D. Knight, served to further tarnish Golding's image. Some JLP members regarded him as a liability leading the party into the next general elections.
There has been a strong opinion among political analysts in Jamaica that the PNP which has been riding on Golding's failings, was gaining in recent polls because of the public's negative perception of Golding. However, not many anticipated Sunday's announcement.
As the news of Golding's decision reverberated around Jamaica and its Diaspora, speculation was rife regarding the real reason for his sudden announcement. Some people speculated it could be a pending negative IMF report, and others even speculated Coke's equally surprising plea deal in his New York trial had something to do with Golding's decision.
Speculation is equally rife as to who will succeed Golding as JLP leader and prime minister. Names being touted this early include, Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of Housing, Environment and Water and Andrew Holness, Minister of Education.
"It's time for the JLP to have fresh, vibrant, visionary leadership," said a ranking JLP member.
The PNP, following Golding's announcement, issued a call for early general elections, citing the county now has "a crisis of governance."
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 09:32|