It had to come to this. It was only a matter of time. Bruce Golding has finally been forced to accept the fact that his political career is over. He couldn’t have lasted until the next general election. He’s become a very heavy burden for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to carry. Saddled with a leader who has scandalously earned the damning reputation of being an unrepentant liar, the party had no choice but to rear up and pitch Bruce off its back.
Well, that’s how it looks from the outside. And in the absence of information, all one can do is speculate. The prime minister’s impenetrable silence has allowed conspiracy theorists and journalists to enjoy a whole week of asking wicked questions and fabricating even more wicked answers about his sudden resignation.
Did the Central executive of the JLP really agree unanimously not to accept Bruce Golding’s resignation this time round? Or did the executive just say no because it would have looked bad if it had immediately said, “Thank you, Jesus!” Is there anyone in the executive who actually wants Bruce to stay? Does Bruce himself want to stay, or is he dying to go?
Was it a foreign taskmaster that drew the whip that lashed the horse that threw Bruce Golding to the ground? Was Dudus’ admission of guilt on all counts a factor in the prime minister’s resignation? What, exactly, if anything, has Dudus told his captors about who knows what and when they knew it? Is our prime minister implicated? Is this why he has precipitately resigned? Did Dudus sing? And, if so, was it his song that made Bruce croak?
Left in limbo
Last Sunday, immediately after making his dramatic announcement to the JLP’s Central Executive of his imminent departure from politics, the prime minister should have properly addressed the nation on this burning matter. We shouldn’t have been left in limbo. After all, Bruce Golding is not just the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party. First and foremost, he’s Jamaica’s prime minister.
Golding’s apparent refusal to treat the nation with respect on the urgent business of his latest resignation takes us right back to his bumbling confusion of roles in the Dudus extradition fiasco.
Even now, Golding does not seem to understand that he needs to clearly separate the function of party leader from that of prime minister.
Caught in a compromising position with Dudus, the prime minister tried to blame the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party for his predicament. Or was it the other way around? Who knows? In any case, the two had clearly become one and the same in Golding’s mind; and neither seemed to be acting on principle. It was all about political expediency.
Almost a year and a half ago when Bruce Golding first announced that he intended to resign as JLP leader and, consequently, as prime minister, the party’s Central Executive should have gladly accepted his decision. It was obvious then that he had become a liability. His reputation was so tarnished that no amount of ‘cake soap’ could bleach it out.
All the same, Bruce did try to rehabilitate himself. He came on TV asking the Jamaican people to forgive him for his sins. Since we are a fundamentalist, Christian society, if only in name, diehard believers did forgive, though some of us simply could not forget.
And we put up with the ‘poppyshow’ Dudus-Manatt commission of enquiry when we all knew that nothing would come of it. I got a very good joke on the commission at one of the farmers’ markets in Kingston. I’m very suspicious of vegetables that are too big and pretty. I fear that deadly fertiliser accounts for the pumped-up look of the produce.
So when I saw some tomatoes that seemed to be a reasonable size, I asked the vendor if she was the farmer and if she had used fertiliser on them. She reassured me that the tomatoes were ‘organic’. Wanting to believe her, I optimistically asked, “Yu naa tell mi no lie?” Her friend who was helping on the stall wittily replied, “This is not the commission of enquiry.”
A youthful Sister P
And what of Golding’s successor? As it turns out, some of the very same members of the JLP Central Executive who supposedly refused to accept his resignation last Sunday are now jostling to replace him. That’s politics, I suppose. ‘An it no pretty.’
The front-runners in the race appear to be Audley Shaw and Andrew Holness. By all accounts, Shaw has done much better as minister of finance than was expected. But that is not exactly a glowing recommendation. The bar of expectations was set rather low, I suspect.
In the case of Holness, I have grave reservations about a candidate who doesn’t appreciate the therapeutic value of a choice ‘bad’ word. As a teacher of literature, I can recall that our minister of education wanted to ban Zee Edgell’s classic novel Beka Lamb because of the author’s use of expletives. Surely, the minister ought to be focusing on more pressing matters like ‘failing schools’!
Mike Henry, at 75, cannot possibly be serious about competing for the post of party leader and prime minister. Since the next general election is already shaping up to be a contest between youth and age, he would definitely give Sister P a welcome advantage. Almost 10 years his junior, the leader of the Opposition would be magically transformed into a rather youthful candidate by comparison.
For the time being, Bruce Golding is still our prime minister. I hope that in his message to the nation this evening, he will come clean and tell us the plain truth about why he’s resigning at this psychological moment. Perhaps, that’s too much to expect. ‘Jack Mandora, mi no choose none.’