JAMAICA PM TO ADDRESS NATION ON SUNDAY

Prime Minister Bruce Golding to resign as political leader of the Jamaica Labor Party.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday September 30, 2011 - Prime Minister Bruce Golding is to address the nation on Sunday, a week after he announced he will resign as Political Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP, in November, causing widespread uncertainty and speculation about who will take over the reign of government.

Information Minister Daryl Vaz said the prime minister will outline issues relating to transition and other critical matters facing the country.

“It was always expected that he would be addressing the nation, but I don’t think it could have been done before he laid his mother to rest,” Vaz said.

Enid Golding, who died at the age of 91, was buried September 28.

Golding’s surprise announcement, last Sunday, to the JLP’s Central Executive, prompted opposition calls for immediate general elections, and caused uncertainty within the country.

And with no clear successor, several high-ranking party officials have said they are being “encouraged” to contest the leadership race, among them, Finance Audley Shaw; Deputy Prime Minister and former JLP Chairman, Dr Kenneth Baugh; Deputy Leader of the JLP, Dr. Christopher Tufton, and party Chairman Lester ‘Mike’ Henry.

“I am receiving encouragement (and) I am in my process of looking at everything,” said Shaw, 59, adding he would make a decision soon.

The 70-year old Dr. Baugh – the current minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade – struck aside concerns about his age, stating he feels young and has enough experience to handle the position.

He disclosed that he will decide, next week, whether he will contest the election.

On the other hand, Dr Christopher Tufton, 43, told the Jamaica Gleaner, he is not certain he will contest the race, and is holding consultations.

“I would not do anything to hurt the country or the party, so I would restrain my political ambition to ensure that we maintain the recovery and growth that we have seen in the past four years. We cannot let political expediency jeopardise the gains,” Dr. Tufton said.

The 76-year old JLP Chairman said he too, would be listening to his supporters.

Henry is the current transport and works minister.

The JLP will close nominations midnight October 20, ahead of the November 19 poll.

“We anticipate a pleasant, unifying, dynamic and, for the People’s National Party, a frightening result and I am certain that result will ensure that when I sit here next year, my government will still be in office,” General Secretary Senator Aundre Franklin told a media conference Thursday

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