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PM defeats no-confidence motion

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Observer staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 02, 2010    

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THE Government last night defeated a no-confidence motion tabled in the House by the parliamentary Opposition against Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

The motion was defeated 30-28, even without the vote of House Speaker Delroy Chuck and that of Shahine Robinson, who learnt earlier in the day that her North East St Ann seat was declared vacant Monday by the Supreme Court in a default judgement.

Robinson had been the subject of an election petition filed by the People's National Party's Manley Bowen that claimed she was a United States citizen at the time of her election in 2007.

Yesterday's motion, which denounced the prime minister's leadership based on his handling of the extradition matter involving former West Kingston don Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, had called for, among other things, the condemnation of Golding for suppressing the truth, that he be censured, and the rejection of his leadership as prime minister.

Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller categorised as "barefaced contempt", the prime minister's statements to Parliament on the issue.

"We have a devalued prime minister in a devalued nation. There is only one remedy. It must be met by the sanction of removal by a vote," she said.

Meanwhile, Opposition spokesman on national security Peter Bunting said the "long-running pantomime" and loss of lives last week in West Kingston could have been avoided if Golding and Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne had allowed the law to take its course.

He said the Government, by announcing its intention to sign the authorisation to proceed on the Coke extradition case, gave the then Tivoli Gardens don a "heads up", leading to barricades mounted at the entrances to Tivoli and the eventual gun battles between members of the security forces and thugs in the community.

He said the prime minister's "spin doctors were desperately trying to reinvent him, presenting him as the man to now lead the fight against crime".

Opposition member Dr Peter Phillips said every "contortion" was now being used to prevent Golding from paying the political price he said he'd gladly pay over his handling of the extradition matter.

Golding, in his response, said his directives for the matter to be kept separate from the Government were not adhered to. In apologising to the Parliament, he described as careless, arguments that he caused the deaths last week by indicating in a national broadcast that an arrest warrant for Coke was on the way.

According to Golding, each time the security forces went into the community unannounced it resulted in the deaths of women and children.

This time, he said, no children were killed.

Following the vote, there were loud cheers from the Government benches.

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