COVID-19 affecting PNP's efforts to gain support, says GoldingTuesday, September 14, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition leader Mark Golding says that it is difficult for his party to do political work because of the restrictions made necessary because of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he feels the People's National Party (PNP) will eventually gain the support of the electorate and re-take the reins of government.
“The people want to see a party that is pulling together and is ready to govern the country when that time comes...We need to represent the people well and once we do that the Jamaican people will come back to us,” Golding said on local radio on Monday (September 13).
Speaking with host, Conrad O'brian, on the talk show Straight Up on NewsTalk 39 FM, Golding said restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus had curtailed political work.
“Gatherings are prohibitive and you don't want to do anything that would suggest that you are encouraging behaviour that would make the health situation worse,” Golding said.
“I had started a programme where I was going across the country every week to a different parish to get to know the people, but I had to curtail that in February when the second wave (of COVID-19 infections) came upon us. We didn't want to do anything that would suggest that we were acting irresponsibly...It is not an easy environment to work in if you want to be visible and you want to be on the ground.”
The Opposition leader was speaking against the background of new opinion polls which showed that Prime Minister Andrew Holness is rated more favourably among Jamaican than he is. The polls also showed the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) comfortably ahead of the PNP.
Golding noted that the PNP's crushing defeat in the last general election along with a contentious leadership battle, in which he prevailed over Lisa Hanna last November, had hurt the chances of the party becoming a viable Opposition. But he said the party had to be responsible in its criticism bearing in mind the pandemic.
“We are operating as an Opposition which has been through a massive defeat a year ago and our country is going through an extraordinary crisis because of the COVID-19 situation and all the restrictions around that.
“It is a time where stridency is desired by many but at the same time we want to be a responsible Opposition. We are trying to strike the right balance between being critical and constructive where we see fit,” he said.
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