Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PNP unmoved by Golding's return to JLP
Observer Reporter
Thursday, September 26, 2002



HENRY-WILSON...our leadership is cohesive enough to withstand any minor quake

OFFICIALS and supporters of the ruling People's National Party (PNP) yesterday reacted with indifference to news of the return of Bruce Golding to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), which he once served as chairman before leaving seven years ago to form the National Democratic Movement (NDM).

Paul Robertson, PNP campaign director, said he didn't think the development would change the standing of both parties in opinion polls, the most recent showing the PNP slightly ahead.

"That's their business," said Robertson. "We are accustomed to running against Bruce; so whether he runs for the JLP or the NDM, it doesn't matter (and) it holds no terror for us."

In her reaction, Maxine Henry-Wilson, the PNP's general-secretary and election campaign manager, said the party was unconcerned that the manouevre would have a "dramatic impact" on the course of the election campaign. She emphasised that the party continued to work and refused to be distracted.

"We believe our message is strong, convincing and genuine enough (and) we believe our leadership is cohesive enough to withstand any minor quake that may be caused by his (Golding's) presence," Henry-Wilson told the Observer.

She also questioned the credibility of the agreements between Golding and the JLP, noting that several of the issues the JLP had opposed in Parliament and in its recently published manifesto.

Meantime, Donovan Nelson, chairman of the Patriots, a caucus of young professionals affiliated with the PNP, said Golding's return to the JLP lacked credibility because on Monday, he (Golding) was insisting that he was not returning to the party he had served for 25 years.

"What has changed since then?" asked Nelson.

The main tenets of Golding's reformist agenda, which he promoted through the NDM, included separation of the powers of the executive and legislative arms of government and reduction in the power of the office of prime minister.

"The House of Representatives remains the same, the structure of government is the same and the prime minister still has the overwhelming power Golding has spoken about," argued Nelson.