(Jamaica Gleaner) The Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) General Secretary Aundre Franklin has taken issue with the media’s use of words like fractious and divisive to refer to the current leadership bid.
According to Senator Franklin the JLP is united.
He said that although there are indications that more than one aspirant is interested in succeeding Prime Minister Bruce Golding, it’s unfair to regard the JLP as divided.
One aspirant, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ken Baugh took issue with Golding’s address to the nation in which he said the time has come for the old vanguards of the country’s political parties to step aside and make way for young leadership.
Baugh, a former chairman of the JLP, said Golding, “is obviously influencing the outcome; I don’t think that is justified. That is my opinion and you can quote me on my opinion.“
The 70-year-old Baugh, who has served as leader of the opposition, said: “I think when you make age a factor, you are obscuring the real issues that need to be discussed. (Issues) as to why the goals for Jamaica have been so elusive.”
He added: “There is a need for age and experience in particular to bring together a good understanding of what has happened over all these years when political leaders get in place and still have not found the solutions,” he told The Gleaner.
The deputy prime minister, who has held several top posts in politics since the 1980s, said his experience over the years has made him fit for the top post. “At this point in time, I think I have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience.”
Asked what he thinks his chances are of winning the top post should he run against the likes of Andrew Holness and Christopher Tufton, Baugh said he was betting on the moment to reveal who is the man for the job.
Meanwhile, Franklin said that with 17 days to go before the deadline, he is yet to get receive any nomination for the post of JLP leader.
However, the JLP general secretary said he is aware that people interested in the post are in consultations.
Franklin also said the JLP will emerge from this process even more fortified to deal with Jamaica’s immediate and long-term challenges.
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s leading private sector groups said they believe Golding’s decision to step down as prime minister was the right one.
In a release, the private sector partners in the Partner-ship for Transformation said Golding made the right decision given the developments over the past two years, and in particular, the Manatt-Coke affair.
The groups said there are several lessons that can be learnt from the national crisis, which was created and that these must guide future decisions.
They said ongoing efforts to put in place legislation on impeachment of elected officials, election campaign financing, local government reforms and other improvements in governance must be of primary concern to the next prime minister, whether young or old.
The private sector partners also said they stand ready to collaborate with the new prime minister to ensure good governance.
The joint press release was issued by the Jamaica Exporters’ Association, Pri-vate Sector Organisation of Jamaica, MSME Alliance, Jamaica Manufacturers’ Asso-ciation, and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce