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Golding promises to revive plan for party welfare fund

Senior staff reporter

Friday, October 16, 2020

PEOPLE'S National Party (PNP) presidential candidate Mark Golding says he plans to revisit his idea of a welfare fund for party workers who fall into hardship if he is successful in the internal contest scheduled for November 7.

The plan was first announced last September during the leadership contest between then Manchester Central Member of Parliament Peter Bunting and PNP President Dr Peter Phillips.

Golding had announced, then, that he had raised $10 million to create an endowment fund to help struggling party workers, but received heavy backlash from members of Phillips' camp, who described the move as “suspicious”.

At that time, he was chairman of Bunting's Rise United campaign.

Bunting eventually lost in his bid to unseat Phillips.

The fund is to be named in honour of PNP's founding father O T Fairclough.

“That fund is going to be there to be invested and the income from the investments is going to look after our party workers who have served long and hard and who face bad living conditions and other problems in their lives,” he told a meeting of supporters and delegates on Wednesday in the neighbouring St Andrew South Western constituency.

Golding is the Member of Parliament for St Andrew Southern, a constituency he inherited in 2016 that has been defined largely by low-income families, crime and underdevelopment.

“When mi see some a our party workers and mi see how them live it nuh look right to mi. It's an embarrassment really. Our party shouldn't be in a situation where somebody who a serve the party fi years and years and years and when you check them house pop dung and it nuh look good and people inna yuh neighbourhood say, 'She, a long time she a work fi PNP and look how fi har thing stay. Them nuh ready yet,'” Golding said to rousing applause.

The fund, he said, is to not only assist Comrades with infrastructure development but those in need of medical assistance or wish to start a business.

He added that it will be accessible across the six regions of the party.

“It affi be fair in how it's distributed because we naah try benefit over one another. We affi do everything off of principle. You see Comrades, when you stick by principle you can't go wrong enuh. That's why when unuh come fi vote enuh unuh vote off of principle enuh. No make nobody buy nuh vote enuh. If anybody come inna my name fi give yuh something just tell them, 'No, Mark seh we nuh inna that'. We help people but we naah buy nuh vote. We nuh believe inna them thing deh,” he said, adding that the act is disrespectful to former leaders of the organisation.

Golding said while he had no intention of running for the party's top post, the disunity brought on by constant leadership challenges and election losses has pushed him in the direction.

He said he is running to unite the party.

“It (party) needs a leader who can work with everybody. Mi nuh have nuh enemy inna the party. Lisa [Hanna] a mi friend. Lisa a mi sistren; years mi know Lisa and mi rate her, a mi friend. Whatever happens, me and she affi work together,” he said.

Hanna, the Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern, is the other candidate vying for the post. In the contest last year she backed Phillips.

In the meantime, Golding admitted that he could have done more to curtail the rift caused by that contest, though he said daggers were drawn on both sides.

“So nuff a wi have blame fi carry but mi apologise fi any role that I played inna that because mi shoulda did put down mi foot more them time deh but me never did really realise how it woulda play out and how long them wounds deh woulda go on for and linger and fester and thing,” said Golding.

“So, mi definitely don't want see that again and me a try mi best fi avoid it... So, Comrades, mi feel seh mi can help pull the party together. Mi feel seh I will rebuild the organisation, working with the people who are strong in that area. Wi waah bring the youth them more inna the party because wi weak wid the youth them,” he added.