Golding’s comments re Juliet Holness ‘highly inappropriate’ – Morgan Loop Jamaica

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Cabinet member Robert Morgan has described as “highly inappropriate” the comments made by Opposition Leader Mark Golding in relation to the appointment of Juliet Holness, the wife of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

During his contribution to the 2024/25 Budget Debate on Tuesday, Golding suggested that the move to replace the former house speaker with the wife of the prime minister, “so that the head of Parliament is now the spouse of the head of Government, does not sit well with the tradition that the Speaker must act independently of the government of the day”.

The comment seemingly upset the Prime Minister Holness, who could be heard uttering the words, “low and desperate”.

He then walked out of Parliament, with other members from the governing side of the aisle following suit. 

Morgan, in an audio statement, defended the actions of his government colleagues.

“We believe that the attack on the Speaker of the House, Mrs Holness, was highly inappropriate,” he stated.

“Mrs Holness is a Member of Parliament in her own right, her nomination (as House Speaker) was seconded by Leader of Opposition Business in House, Phillip Paulwell, and no member of the Opposition voted against her nomination, which means they supported it,” added Morgan. 

He said that for the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) president to speak “so inappropriately” about the House speaker, “raising negative spectres over her reputation and management of the House, we consider that to be very low and very desperate.” 

Morgan said that Golding’s actions were, among other things, a sign of “desperate politics”, which the government will not tolerate.

“… The government side has taken its stance that we will not stand for that sort of behaviour, that sort of disrespect, and that sort of desperate politics,” the government minister declared.

Mrs Holness, the MP for St Andrew East Rural, was not present in Parliament when Golding made the now-controversial remarks.

She was first elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in September of last year, following the resignation of Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert.