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We have a government in place, say JLP MPs

BY LUKE DOUGLAS Senior staff reporter douglasl@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011    

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MEMBERS of Parliament for the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) sought to reassure the public that it is business as usual for the Government despite the impending resignation of the party's leader and prime minister, Bruce Golding.

Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives Andrew Holness endured a barrage of questions from Opposition MPs about the effect of Golding's impending resignation on the country's stability and its relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in particular.

Anthony Hylton, Dr Peter Phillips and Michael Peart were among several Opposition members who fired questions at the beginning of yesterday's sitting of the House of Representatives at the Jamaica Conference Centre. They said they had expected to hear a statement from the prime minister, given the national importance of his announcement. They said Golding's announcement had caused a level of destabilisation, which had serious implications for the country.

But Golding responded by saying that when the late former prime minister, Michael Manley announced that he was retiring "I do not recall that when he next appeared in Parliament that he was subject to any harassment".

"I remain prime minister of Jamaica and I will do so for some time yet," Golding stated.

With the House in uproar, Speaker Marissa Dalrymple Phillibert appealed for calm.

"The prime minister has just spoken. He has said he is the leader of the party, the Jamaica Labour Party that forms the Government until he resigns. He has not resigned," she said, dismissing the view that there was any destabilisation of the country.

Leader of Government Business Andrew Holness also defended Golding, saying the prime minister was at his office working yesterday just as any normal day.

"We have a Government in place," he said to cheers from the Government side.

Earlier journalists swarmed the embattled prime minister as he entered the room at the Jamaica Conference Centre, which has been hosting sittings of the Parliament, demanding a comment in the wake of his announcement last Sunday disclosing his intention not to stand for re-election at the next party conference in November.

But a sombre Golding was in no mood to talk, only saying he had just gone to finalise funeral arrangements for his mother who died on September 14.

The funeral service for the prime minister's mother takes place in Old Harbour, St Catherine this morning.

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