Wishing Mr Golding well

Editorial

Wishing Mr Golding well

Monday, November 09, 2020

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Saturday was much like most days in recent times.

It was depressingly wet across Jamaica, with persistent drizzles, intermittent showers, and gloomy, overcast skies.

On such days many people stay close to home, unless it's absolutely necessary to do otherwise.

We are left to assume therefore that the 96 per cent turnout of People's National Party (PNP) delegates for the selection of their new president reflected deep appreciation of their responsibility.

Of course, Saturday's internal poll followed weeks of intense campaigning by eventual winner Mr Mark Golding and his opponent Ms Lisa Hanna.

Both sides agreed that whoever was elected to succeed Dr Peter Phillips would have the task of uniting and healing the PNP, which has experienced a surfeit of divisiveness over the last 12 years.

In a real sense, Mr Golding's ascension to the presidency of the PNP underlines the recognition of those who have put him there that, first and foremost, the party must come together again, as one “family” under one “tent”.

For up to now Mr Golding has not typified the usual successful Jamaican politician, skilled at rousing supporters with colourful platform rhetoric, and directing clever, cruel digs at opponents.

Rather, Mr Golding, a company lawyer and investor, has long been viewed as low-keyed and mostly courteous — to a degree, unusual in politics.

Indeed, he entered representational politics in St Andrew Southern a few years ago, only very reluctantly.

As it has turned out, that tendency to remain under the radar and to be respectful of others may well have been pivotal in distancing him from the kind of controversy and acrimony to have negatively affected his peers from time to time.

Without doubt, Mr Golding's personality has strongly influenced the notion of him as a potential unifier.

Also, at a time when corruption and allegations of corruption have damaged the practice of representational politics to a near unprecedented extent, Mr Golding has been able to maintain a squeaky clean image.

And, very importantly, as justice minister in the Portia Simpson Miller-led Administration, 2012-2016, he developed a reputation as a well-organised and hard worker who got things done.

The long-overdue decriminalisation of ganja for personal use in 2015 is perhaps his crowning achievement as Cabinet minister.

By virtue of his pronouncements, Mr Golding enhanced his image as a man inclined towards peace and harmony, at the start, during, and after the recent internal campaign.

Miss Hanna did likewise. Both are to be congratulated for decent, civil, orderly campaigning — precisely what was needed for a troubled and divided PNP.

Mr Golding has pledged to consult with and involve Miss Hanna and her team on the way forward.

Miss Hanna has pledged to be totally supportive.

The extent to which they are able to make their promises deeds will have decisive impact on the effectiveness of the PNP, as political Opposition at this time of unprecedented crisis for modern Jamaica, and ultimately convince Jamaicans of the party's suitability to govern.

All those who recognise the importance of a strong, healthy, and united PNP to the sustenance of Jamaica's much-cherished democracy will wish Mr Golding well.


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