Prime Minister P. J. Patterson, in a response to a letter from Opposition Leader Mr. Bruce Golding, said that the Constitutional requirement for the appointment of the new Governor-General was met. He said that the procedure requires that the proposal for the appointment should be tendered to Her Majesty by the Prime Minister and Her Ministers in Jamaica, that is, the Cabinet.
Mr. Bruce Golding complained that the appointment of Professor Kenneth Hall as the new Governor General was done without consultation with him. Mr. Patterson indicated that all three appointments of former Governors-General were made in a similar manner and that he was guided entirely by the precedents and procedures adopted by those appointments. The Prime Minister questioned the basis of Mr. Golding’s complaint arguing that the Opposition had discontinued the “process of bipartisan dialogue” by way of announcement in September 2005 and without any prior warning despite the fact that the Leader of the Opposition had requested time to enable his Party to reach a common approach on the model and stages of Constitutional Reform.
“In regard to your complaint, you should be reminded that despite every effort on my part and that of the Government, we have been unable to secure any movement by the Opposition, even by a millimeter, of the Agreements reached as far back as May 1995 for Jamaica to become a Republic. From this unequivocal repudiation you have not resiled”, his letter stated. In light of this stance, the Prime Minister questioned the areas of national importance, except as the Constitution expressly stipulates, that the Opposition Leader would remain available for bilateral consultations.
The Prime Minister said that he had “striven steadfastly” to reach at least that level of bipartisan agreement which would permit constitutional enactment of Republican status. He said that he failed to see how Mr. Golding could rely on the spirit of an agreement reached eleven years ago but which shows no sign of “impending consummation”.
He said that Mr. Golding’s concurrence on those occasions when he has consulted with him, as required by the Constitution, serves to highlight the benefit and value of ongoing talks. He pointed out that the memberships of the outgoing Police Services Commission and the Public Services Commission had been settled only after extensive discussions between himself and Mr. Golding’s predecessor.
Prime Minister Patterson said that he was pleased that the Leader of the Opposition had no hesitation in supporting Professor Hall’s appointment and said that he expected that the appointment would now enjoy the full endorsement of the Opposition.