Loui Mcneil, a Jamaican living in Florida provides commentary on Bruce Goldings rise in the JLP, crime in Jamaica and more
Commentary Jamaica Magazine

As I see it – Don’t hold your breath

Soooo. Bruce Golding has taken the penultimate step to be ‘where he wanna be’.

With his ‘win’ in West Kingston, Bruce Golding is Jamaica’s newest Opposition Leader and stands a chance to be the next Prime Minister. Good for him, not necessarily good for Jamaica.

Anyone who hopes to see a new and different period in Jamaican politics because of Mr. Golding will be in for a disappointment. Mr. Golding is cut from the same cloth as most politicians in Jamaica. Though I would be unable to tell you how much worse than average he is, I certainly can tell you he won’t be much better.

Golding, at one time, managed to fool-up a whole lotta people when he left the JLP and formed the National Democratic Movement. The ‘golden child’ had arrived. Here was someone bringing a fresh and respectable face to the Jamaican political scene. Brrrrrp! Never happened, never will.

Just his manner of returning to the JLP should be an indication of who he is, and the taking of Western Kingston as his base speak volumes of the type of leader he intends to be.

If he had taken a rural seat, or an uptown one, that could be looked upon as an indication that he would attempt to change the face of confrontational politics.

But taking Edward Seaga’s old garrison, well, tells you that it’s gonna be same ol’ same ol’.

Whatever one may say about the positives of West Kingston, it still is a garrison seat that hosts a number of politically affiliated dons and thugs. Golding’s choice was to prove his manhood by staying outside and destroying the garrison mentality, or staying within the garrison and beating his chest as the new don. He chose the latter.

Seaga started losing control of West Kingston a long time ago and coming into the new millennium, had little or no real control over the druggists and gunmen who had taken over the communities. Golding is not a ‘son of West Kingston’, not even an adopted one. Just a transplanted organ, like Michael Jackson’s nose.

There is no way he can control them, but staying on the inside does afford him a little protection, and some ‘backative’ where the rest of the country and the JLP are concerned. Let’s wait and see but don’t hold your breath. (First published April 21, 2005) post inauguration blues.

It wasn’t even been a month since Bruce Golding was inaugurated as the ‘political leader’ of Tivoli and his ‘batty a go twick-twick’.

The recent murders of 3 policemen have brought Tivoli into very sharp focus. The police from the hour that these killings started, knew exactly the why and some of the who. They should, because two of the gunmen were killed almost immediately after they killed the first policeman.

And one of those two was the son of the late Tivoli enforcer Lester Coke and brother to Tivoli don, Michael Coke. Michael Coke, is the current don of Tivoli and is nicknamed ‘the president’.

That nickname is instructive, more so to Bruce Golding than anyone else. Golding knows that he is not the real leader in Tivoli and he knows it. And he knows that he has little power to control the gangs of gunmen that work from Tivoli.

The eyes of Jamaica are on him and Tivoli, and there is little he can do to come out smelling like roses. He can condemn the killers and urge the police to bring them to justice in a rush. But he cannot invite the police into Tivoli ‘cause that will be his political doom there. Might even cost him his life.

And he can’t too strongly defend Tivoli, because that will be his political doom elsewhere. But his political doom began the day he decided to inherit Edward Seaga’s personal fiefdom. That action spelt to Jamaica, the type of leader Golding will be.

It’s now up to the electorate to show either that they are so disgusted with the Peoples National Party that they are willing to compromise with Golding… or they can send the Jamaica Labour Party a message that they must be more careful with their choice of leaders… that a poor clone of Seaga isn’t gonna do it.

Jamaica is caught between a rock and a hard place, and no one currently knows how that feels, more than Bruce Golding.

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LouiMcneil