Leader of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Mark Golding, has fired back at his critics in the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), declaring that he will not be daunted by their purported attacks against him.
“Whatever depraved and divisive vulgarities my political opponents may stoop to in their desperation to hold on to power, I will not be daunted. I have no fear of them!” declared a fiery Golding to loud of cheering comrades gathered at the National Arena in St Andrew on Sunday for the PNP’s annual national conference.
Golding has been heavily criticised in recent times for his actions on the political hustings, the latest of which was his participation in what has been described as an “ill-conceived slavery skit” in which he was seen removing a chain from the neck of a black PNP supporter two Sundays ago.
While not referring to that incident on Sunday, a spirited Golding defended his work in Jamaica over the years as a businessman, even adding that he was a born Jamaican.
Some JLP members, including firebrand Cabinet Minister, Everald Warmington, have implied that Golding will never be next prime minister of Jamaica, due to him being a white Jamaican.
But Golding remained defiant on Sunday that he will lead the PNP to a general election victory.
“I am offering myself to the Jamaican people for service in their interest, with the skills, knowledge, and experience that I have gained in my life,” he insisted.
“I don’t come here to scrape from the people. I come to serve all Jamaicans, and I come to you Jamaica with clean hands and a clean heart,” the PNP president declared.
Golding said while the economy is looking “good on the books”, the Government is “not balancing people’s lives as Sista P (Portia Simpson Miller, former Prime Minister and PNP President) would say.”
On that score, he said that, “Our economy is not delivering prosperity for the majority of our people.”
Golding said since recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has hardly been growing, and it is still “delivering mainly low-paying jobs”.
Turning to education, he said the sector has been failing the nation’s children, while on the crime scene, the society is plagued by high levels of violent crime.
“How can any Government claim they deserve another term in office when this is the record, and this is what they are delivering for the people of Jamaica?” Golding asked.
The Nationwide News Network (NNN) Bluedot poll, the latest opinion polls to be released just last week, showed that a majority of Jamaicans surveyed said the Government deserves a third term in office.
In relation to the party standings, 31 per cent of those surveyed said they would vote for the JLP if an election was called at the time of the polling, versus 25 per cent for the PNP.
The findings were released on Friday, two days before the PNP’s annual conference.
The JLP increased its lead over the PNP by six per cent, when compared to the February 2023 Bluedot opinion poll, which saw the JLP attracting 24 per cent support over the PNP’s 21 per cent.
A PNP-commissioned Don Anderson poll that was released on June 27, 2023, had the PNP leading the JLP by approximately five per cent.
If an election was called then, 30.2 per cent of Jamaicans would have voted for the PNP, while 25 per cent would have opted for the JLP.
Interestingly the JLP’s General Secretary, Dr Horace Chang, questioned the validity of the February poll findings back then.