The Observer had a piece on it today: Yesterday, Golding presided over his final Cabinet meeting as prime minister and thanked his ministers for their support and hard work under his leadership. "He noted that the Government had overcome significant challenges over the last four years but emphasized that much remains to be done to accelerate the pace of economic recovery in order to be able to tackle the country's urgent social needs," Jamaica House said in a news release. Golding also used the meeting to thank the cabinet secretary and the staff of the Cabinet Office as well as the permanent secretary and staff of the Office of the Prime Minister for their support during his tenure. Golding also noted that while some elements of the Government's reform agenda had been completed, other important items are yet to be implemented. "These, he said, were at an advanced stage of preparation and urged his colleagues to complete the process as a matter of urgency," the release said.
Jamaica House also said that after the Cabinet adjourned, "Golding convened a meeting of Government MPs and received their unanimous formal endorsement of Holness to succeed him as prime minister". Holness's meteoric elevation to the top job followed Golding's shock announcement on September 25 -- at the quarterly meeting of the Central Executive of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) -- that he would not seek re-election as leader of the party at its annual conference in November. He also said he would step aside as prime minister as soon as a new party leader was elected.Golding, the release said, will convey this advice to the governor general and tender his resignation on Sunday afternoon shortly before the ceremony at King's House.Within days of his announcement, it became clear that Holness was the front-runner to replace Golding as he received backing from powerful members of the JLP's parliamentary group.According to the JLP, Golding told the meeting he had planned to lead the party into a second term of government and demit office within two years thereafter. "He said 'the challenges of the last four years have taken their toll and it was appropriate now to make way for new leadership to continue the programmes of economic recovery and transformation while mobilizing the party for victory in the next general elections'," the JLP said.
The education minister's position was strengthened further when Golding, in a national broadcast on October 2, clearly stated that it was time for leaders of his generation to make way for "younger people whose time has come, who are more in sync with 21st century realities, whose vision can have a longer scope and who can bring new energy to the enormous tasks that confront us". Yesterday, the State news agency, the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), in a news feature on Holness's impending appointment, reported former Prime Minister Edward Seaga as saying that he did not share the belief that leaders need to be young. However, he argued that age was not an impediment if it is utilised in the correct way. "In the next two months, I will be 64," Golding said. "I feel it is time for me and people like me to make way and allow a new crop of leaders to step forward and unleash their energies and creativity.""But Andrew, I think, is one who is not in that category, he is someone who is more focused on the national affairs of the country," said Seaga, who welcomed and endorsed Holness as an ideal candidate for the top position and pointed out that the education minister "has the right make-up (and) the right characteristics" for the job. Seaga, the JIS story said, recalled meeting Holness while the latter served as executive director of the Voluntary Organisation for the Upliftment of Children between 1994 and 1996.
"I have known other young people who were more interested in serving themselves in politics, and for a time I lost my faith that we would ever find young people who could really be useful in becoming leaders to take this nation's affairs on their shoulders," the JIS quoted Seaga, who is largely regarded as Holness's mentor. Noting that Holness displays a "firm disposition", Seaga said he is capable of making the correct decisions "with due consideration". "I noted that the person who was running it was a young man, and we got to talking and after sufficient time had passed, I asked if he would like to join me in what I was doing, and he agreed. It's unusual to find young men in those kinds of situations, because it's an area in which you are trained to give, and to give support and to give assistance, and men are not that caring. If it was a woman in the position, I could have understood it more. So, to me, it was a unique situation," Seaga told the JIS.
"Those are the tools you need to handle problems, and with those tools I expect him to be able to cope. Now, it's not every problem that you can cope with, and you always have to take advice, and that is the area in which he will have to, if he hasn't yet mastered, learn how to adapt himself," the JIS quoted Seaga. "The economy really comes first; until you fix that, you're really not going anywhere. I think he had that as part of the training he had at the University of the West Indies from which he graduated. But if he hadn't, he would have learnt enough in the past four years in which the JLP has been in power, because of the amount of discussions that would have taken place on the economy, to have a full grasp of it," he noted. In assuming the position of prime minister, Seaga said that Holness will need to focus on the economy, education and agriculture. Regarding education, Seaga credited Holness with initiating "far-reaching" and "ground-breaking" ideas in the ministry."So, I hope his care and attention to the ministry (of education) will be continued in one way or the other. You can't solve all problems at one time. Pick the ones that are most important and the ones that can most readily be solved, so as to make some headway," Seaga advised. ENDS
Speculation is already rife that Information spokesman Daryl Vaz maybe the first casualty as he is deemed very close to PM Golding than Holness as they have had spats before tipped for the position is the eloquent Minister or Mining and Energy Clive Mullings (photo) he (Daryl Vaz) has been described as harsh, cold, course and rough with the media and in today's last cabinet press conference he hinted that he has not resigned or been fired as yet. He said in closing that it was an honour to serve and thanked the outgoing Prime Minister, he joked it they (the media) wanted to wipe their tears before he continued the session, he was described though as the most accessible Minister, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve after that most of the other positions can remain as is especially Finance now held by Audley Shaw. Probably one more change could be a return to Agriculture of Christopher Tufton who performed excellently until the last cabinet reshuffle by outgoing PM Golding. With no clear indication yet as to the new PM's stance on human rights it is unclear what we are being asked to judge him on so as to relect the JLP.
Observer Poll on age between Portia Simpson Miller and PM designate Andrew Holness
If he does call an election soon that is probably before the new voters list is ready in November and the heightened publicity of Mr. Holness as a younger greener candidate, an idea of which some say whose time has come. The polls seem to also reflect this new feeling as the JLP has just inched infront the PNP who by the way seem not to have recovered from the shock resignation of Golding in the first place. With most of the voting population under the age of 30 we are told and another almost 40, 000 persons recently registered with the Electoral Office so as to become voters who will these persons vote for is still unclear but some pundits say they are likely to vote for the Peoples National Party PNP. The Line in the sand has been drawn erased almost and then redrawn, let us see where things go.
Peace and tolerance