Golding stands by Malahoo Forte appointment

Published: Thursday | July 16, 2009

Grace-Ann Black, Gleaner Intern

Marlene Malahoo Forte receives her instrument of office after being sworn in as state minister for foreign affairs and foreign trade by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen at King's House yesterday. - Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has defended his decision to appoint Marlene Malahoo Forte a junior minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, calling it a deliberate decision.

Golding was responding to the storm of criticism surrounding the appointment, during the former resident magistrate's swearing-in ceremony at King's House in St Andrew yesterday.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is the part of government that guides our international relations and anchors our interaction with the global community," the prime minister said. "This role and the work that it does have grown exponentially with the impact of globalisation."

Questions raised

The Opposition has raised questions about the role Malahoo Forte will have in the ministry and why it was necessary to install a second junior minister to join Foreign Affairs Minister Kenneth Baugh and State Minister Ronald Robinson.

Malahoo Forte came under fire from members of the legal fraternity last year after she claimed some attorneys had reduced the profession to "a hustling".

Just last month, news surfaced that members of the Jamaican Bar Association were not in favour of her application to sit as a High Court judge.

"Political service, by its very nature, is a hotbed of controversy," Golding said yesterday. "Mrs Malahoo Forte is not unaccustomed to controversy. Her feet have already been held to the fire. As Bob Marley reminded us, the truth may very well be an offence, but it is not a sin."