Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, says his decision not to seek re-election as Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and to resign as Head of Government was arrived at “after deep contemplation and prayer, seeking to do what is best for the country and the party.”
Mr. Golding, in a national broadcast last night (October 2), said it is now the appropriate time for him to step aside and make way for new leadership as the challenges of the last four years, including the effects of global economic recession, had taken their toll.
He noted that the Government has been successful in implementing far-reaching macroeconomic reforms to return of the economy to a growth path, create new jobs, and cauterize the rise in poverty and “while the worst may have passed, we are not yet out of the woods”.
“There are challenges that remain on many fronts that will require strong leadership to overcome and absolute confidence in the authority of that leadership,” he stated.
Explaining the timing of his decision, the Prime Minister noted that the Central Executive of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) which meets quarterly, convened on September 25, which was its last meeting before the annual general conference scheduled for November 19 and 20, and he had to make his decision known then.
Mr. Golding noted, as well, that, as stipulated in the party’s constitution, the deadline for nominations is October 19, therefore sufficient time had to be allowed for potential candidates to consider offering themselves and meet the deadline.
“Sufficient time had to be allowed, as well, for the delegates to contemplate their choices since they would not have been anticipating that a vacancy would arise. But it was important not to have too long a period of uncertainty regarding the leadership and direction of the government,” he stated.
The Prime Minister said he was also aware that the role he played in the Coke/Manatt matter has remained a source of concern in the minds of many people, which “has affected me deeply and the perceptions that are held by some people have not been dispelled, notwithstanding the exhaustive deliberations of a Commission of Enquiry.”
He pointed out, however, that it was never about Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke’s guilt or innocence, “it was about a breach of our Constitution, and had it been a person other than Coke it, perhaps, would never have become the cause célèbre that it turned out to be.
We have since amended the Interception of Communications Act to permit, in the future, the action that was taken in Coke’s case but which, at that time, was in violation of our Constitution.”
“I cannot allow the challenges we face and the issues that we as a people must confront, to be smothered or overpowered by this saga and the emotions that they ignite. It would not be fair to my country; it would not be fair to my party,” he added.