Use your political capital to bring offending party members in line, Golding tells HolnessMonday, November 29, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Bruce Golding has told his successor, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, not to be afraid to use the tremendous political capital he has built up over the years to get offending party members in line.
“If you don't use it you're going to lose it,” Golding told Holness on Sunday he addressed the party's 78th annual conference at the National Indoor Sports Centre in St Andrew.
In a not so veiled message at cabinet ministers and other senior party members who have become embroiled in scandal over the past several years, Golding told them that integrity matters.
“If we make the mistake of believing that the assignment we have been given is something that we are entitled to because we are good labourites. If we believe that we are put there to pursue our own interests or feather our own nests then we letting down Andrew Holness, we're 'colting the game. We must not let him down. We must not let down the thousands of labourite who put us where we are and who have kept us where we are,” Golding stated.
Continuing, he said “We must not spit in the faces of the thousands of Jamaicans who don't identify themselves as labourites but went and voted for us because of the trust and the confidence that Andrew has inspired in them.”
He also told Holness that he was expending precious political capital by being forced to put out too many fires. According to Golding, Holness was being forced on the backfoot too often.
“Too often when he should be hitting boundaries and putting runs on the board, he is being forced to play defensive strokes to protect the wicket... It is not fair to him,” argued the former prime minister.
Since regaining state power in 2016, the JLP, under Holness' leadership, has been rocked by several scandals, a number of which remain unresolved. Former education minister Ruel Reid is before the courts on a $55 million fraud related matter. He was forced out of the cabinet. Also forced to leave the cabinet is former energy minister Dr Andrew Wheatley who resigned from the executive at the height of the Petrojam scandal.
Floyd Green also tendered his resignation recently as agriculture and fisheries minister after he was caught on video at a birthday party on a no-movement day aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19 on the island.
A number of senior public servants were also forced to resign from various ministries, public boards and agencies of the state.
Golding warned labourites that “The goodwill that he [Holness] enjoys is very delicate, it's very fragile, it has to be handled with the utmost care. It is something that can vanish in the twinkling of an eye”.
“It has to be protected and preserved because he is going to need it in order to mobilise the country to confront the many challenges that we face,” Golding added.
He said Holness will need the public goodwill to win the next election.
He told the conference that much of the credit for the party's landslide victory in the September 3, 2020 general election was due to Holness.
Said Golding: “Winning an election is not just about bringing out labourites. As much as we are, as broad as we are, there are not enough of us to win an election so we have to attract the support of persons who do not identify themselves as labourites but who go out and vote and vote for us because they believe in us, they trust us…they're convinced that we will make Jamaica a better place”.
The former prime minister said Holness, more than anyone else, commanded that trust and that confidence.