Golding speaks tonight
Prime Minister Bruce Golding is expected to officially advise the nation tonight why he plans to pull the curtains down on his near 40-year stint in the political arena.
Golding will address the people of Jamaica directly for the first time since he told his political colleagues at last Sunday’s Central Executive meeting of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) that he has decided to bow out under the strain brought about by leadership challenges.
His address will take the form of a nation-wide broadcast.
The impending departure of the 63-year-old political veteran stands in stark contrast to the 24-year-old young man who won the Western St Catherine seat that was previously held by his late father, Tacius Golding, the first Speaker of the House of Representatives in post-independent Jamaica.
For the four years that Golding has occupied the position of prime minister, he was faced with one challenge after another that created major distractions and obstruction to governance.
There was no electoral honeymoon for Golding in the aftermath of his razor-thin victory at the polls in 2007.
Golding’s row with the members of the Public Service Commission over the appointment of a new solicitor general soon after he was sworn in was preceded by a protracted battle with the Opposition over the dual-citizenship status of some government members.
Ironically, Douglas Leys, Golding’s choice for solicitor general, figured prominently in the Dudus extradition catastrophe that engulfed the governing JLP.
Over the succeeding three-year period, Daryl Vaz, Michael Stern, Gregory Mair and Shanine Robinson were axed one by one by the court due to their dual-citizenship status.
Another MP, Everald Warmington, resigned as member of parliament before the law got to him.
In the midst of the challenges, the global financial crisis assailed Jamaica’s fragile economic conditions and the Golding administration rushed to put in place corrective measures, including the debt exchange initiative.
Before the Golding administration could be rid of the dual-citizenship imbroglio that threatened to create a major numerical issue in the Parliament that was so divided, news emerged that the United States wanted Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, a prominent name in Western Kingston, to answer serious criminal charges.
Golding and his government allegedly searched for legal loopholes to prevent Coke’s extradition, but fuelled by an unrelenting parliamentary Opposition, the administration clashed with the United States over the Government’s reluctance to send Coke packing.
The prime minister’s admission that he had sanctioned the engagement of US-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips after initially claiming that he knew nothing rubbed the people of Jamaica the wrong way.
Having survived thunderous demands for his resignation, with an apology to the nation, Golding still faced two major hurdles – the Manatt-Dudus commission of enquiry and a major fallout with some of the people who helped to lift him to the position of JLP leader and prime minister of Jamaica.
Both signalled the death knell for Golding’s political career.