KINGSTON — Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has emphasised that there is no change in Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding’s position regarding when he will step down as Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, and as Prime Minister.
Clarifying media reports, which suggest that Mr. Golding intended to step down before the projected November 19 date, Mr. Vaz pointed out that the Prime Minister had indicated in his national broadcast on October 2 that he would step down when a new party Leader was elected.
“There is a procedure and a structure in that process, and therefore, until nominations are closed on October 19, nominations are open for all those aspirants who may have a desire. It is looking, based on what has been transpiring, that there will be only one nomination. It is still early days, but his original statement was that when a new leader is elected…therefore, the structure in place is that nominations close on October 19, and therefore November 19 would be the date when a new leader would be elected, if there was a selection process,” Mr. Vaz explained at a post-Cabinet press briefing held at Jamaica House on October 12.
He further outlined that if on October 19 the leading aspirant, Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, remains unopposed, then “it is very likely that thereafter the Prime Minister would make arrangements to demit office, in a smooth and timely transition. It is not his intention to stay to the last day."
Mr. Vaz said that Mr. Golding is cognizant of the sensitivities surrounding the matter, and therefore wants to ensure that the new leader and Prime Minister takes office as soon as is possible. “After next week Thursday (October 18), if there is only one nomination, it would pave the way for a smooth transition of Prime Minister, and after that, the issue of leadership of the party would be secondary,” the Information Minister asserted.
On October 2, Prime Minister Golding informed the nation that he would not seek re-election at the annual general conference of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to be held in November and would step down as Prime Minister as soon as a new leader has been elected. “I had come to this position after deep contemplation and prayer, seeking to do what is best for the country and the party,” Mr. Golding said.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter