Golding rejects prime minister's claimSunday, October 17, 2021
People's National Party (PNP) President Mark Golding has rejected assertions by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that he was included in talks associated with the national vaccination programme.
Addressing the private session of the PNP's 83rd Annual Conference yesterday, Golding said that he has been excluded from the national vaccination programme, contrary to the claim by Holness that he had not been.
In responding to the social media post by Holness, Golding said, “I have been calling for the Disaster Risk Management Council to be used as a vehicle for making the major decisions related to the country's management of the COVID-19 crisis. I have been calling for the council to meet, but those calls have gone unanswered.
“The PM wrote to me on the 1st of September saying that he wanted me to be a part of a national vaccination effort and that his office would provide further details; however, those details have not been provided. The PM has effectively rolled out this campaign with a national road programme as a JLP campaign, and I and the other Opposition MPs [Members of Parliament] have been excluded from that process,” Golding said in a statement issued by the party's secretariat.
The Opposition Leader said that his participation in vaccination blitzes has been limited to the blitz he arranged in his own constituency and that of neighbouring MP of St Andrew South Western, Dr Angela Brown Burke. Golding indicated that he remains open to participating in the national interest and reiterated that his party strongly supports vaccination and encourages any citizen, who is able, to get inoculated.
The PNP kicked off its 83rd conference at the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) studio. Delegates were invited to join via Zoom in keeping with COVID-19 protocols. It is the party's first virtual conference in its 83-year history and officials described the first day's activities as “smooth”.
President Golding and the four vice-presidential candidates Norman Scott, Richard Azan, Ian Hayles, and Eugene Kelley were uncontested and duly elected.
Acting Chairman Horace Dalley shared opening remarks and set the tone for the conference, which is guided by the theme 'PNP Strong!'
Yesterday, delegates were assigned to break-out sessions to engage in an interactive exercise designed by Maxine Henry-Wilson and the Unity Committee to foster unity and comradeship at all levels of the party.
Today, the private session of the conference will end at 1:00 pm and the public session will begin at 1:30 pm, to which the public is invited to participate.