Shadow Cabinet choices good, Mr Golding

Shadow Cabinet choices good, Mr Golding

Friday, December 04, 2020

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If we are to take Opposition Leader Mr Mark Golding at his word, he holds no grudges nor does he indulge in malice.

For sure, he has said mostly the right things in the build up to, and since his selection as president of the People's National Party (PNP) last month.

He has consistently insisted that his priority is to unite the PNP after arguably the most divisive period in its storied history.

He has said that he does not take personally some of the offensive comments made about him by Comrades during and immediately after the internal campaign.

Clearly then, Mr Golding believes that what's said in the heat of political 'war' should be left behind like gun smoke on the battlefield.

That's good, even as we recognise that internal party discipline must hold sway for the good of all.

Mr Golding may well be taking notes from former PNP President Mr PJ Patterson who embraced even his harshest critics within, once he considered such to be for the greater good of the party.

As if on cue, the newly selected general secretary of the PNP Dr Dayton Campbell, who was favoured by Mr Golding, and new party Chairman Mr Phillip Paulwell, who did not enjoy the support of the party president, have also been saying the right things.

Their job, they say, is to work together with Mr Golding and the wider party leadership and membership to ensure the PNP returns to being a viable alternative to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Further to that, this newspaper believes Mr Golding did well in his choices for a shadow Cabinet, announced late Wednesday night — rewarding perceived worth.

We note talk in some quarters suggesting that his naming of long-time friend and business partner Mr Peter Bunting to the Senate is merely reward for both having worked closely together during the latter's challenge to then PNP President Dr Peter Phillips in 2019; and more recently when Mr Golding went up against Ms Lisa Hanna for leadership of the party.

We consider such talk unworthy. By any measure, Mr Bunting, who lost the Manchester Central seat in the September parliamentary election after three terms as Member of Parliament (MP), has much to offer as a legislator in his own right.

He was also MP for Clarendon South Eastern, 1993-98.

A highly successful investment banker, Mr Bunting was minister of national security (2012-16) and served several years as general secretary of the PNP.

Beyond all that, Mr Bunting has a strong reputation for rigorous, thoughtful discourse and analysis relating to a range of issues.

Mr Golding would have been remiss had he ignored Mr Bunting for the Senate seat, once it was recognised he was available.

Mr Golding well knows that his toughest tasks as party president and Opposition leader are ahead. While he has been admirably accommodating up to now, there will come a time when his caution to Comrades that “Don't take my sweetness for weakness...” will be put to the test.

How he responds, to those and other challenges, will determine whether he can whip the PNP once again into a formidable force capable of presenting itself as a viable alternative for leadership.

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