(Jamaica Gleaner) – Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Mike Henry, has revealed that from as early as last week Thursday, Prime Minister Bruce Golding conveyed his decision to step down.
Speaking yesterday on Independent Talk on Power 106FM, Henry also indicated that the Prime Minister’s decision was one that was carefully thought out.
Henry says he was informed of Golding’s decision during a meeting last Thursday.
The party chairman says at that time, the prime minister also declared that he would communicate his intention to the Central Executive of the party.
The party chairman declined to say the specific factors that influenced the resignation.
In the meantime, Henry has affirmed that Golding will continue in his position as prime minister until a new JLP leader is elected.
He said the party’s standing committee was to discuss the resignation at its meeting last night.
Henry said the central executive will continue its bid to persuade Golding to reconsider his decision.
But Daryl Vaz, a close confidant of the Prime Minister, is insisting that Golding’s decision is final at this time.
Last year Golding had offered to resign in the face of public criticisms arising from his handling of the Manatt affair but the party’s central executive rejected the offer.
However, Vaz says this time Golding has not only offered, but has resigned as leader indicating that the challenges over the past four years have taken their toll.
Henry said no decision has yet been made as whether the November date for the JLP’s annual conference will be brought forward.
But Vaz indicated that the conference could be held earlier in the light of the resignation of Golding.
Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies Christine Cummings is of the view that the Manatt/Dudus affair is the main factor that led to Golding’s resignation.
She is also speculating that the letter sent to a US judge by Christopher Coke asking for leniency in his sentencing has something to do with Golding’s decision to step down.
She is also criticising the manner in which the Golding’s announcement was made.
According to the university lecturer, Golding should have announced his resignation in an address to the nation.
Like the opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Cummings says the government should call an early election.
However, at least two commentators are doubtful of the possibility of a snap election in the light of the Prime Minister’s plans to step down.
Social commentator Martin Henry said Golding’s indication to continue until the JLP’s annual conference in November will give the party sufficient time to focus on its election machinery.
Henry also said Golding’s successor would want to cement himself with the populous and present a united party before calling an election.
Political commentator Kevin O’Brien Chang agrees.
He said Golding’s resignation will mean a game changer for both the labour party and the PNP.
Chang said with Golding out of the way, both parties would have to re-engineer their election strategies to convince Jamaicans to vote for either of them.