Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
Former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Bruce Golding would have been disappointed with the current state of affairs in the party after his desire for transformation through a younger leader failed to materialise, according to one of the party's deputy leaders, Dr Christopher Tufton.
Tufton, speaking with The Sunday Gleaner after endorsing Audley Shaw to wrest party leadership from Andrew Holness, said Golding's perceived endorsement of the current leader was with the hope that the party would move from its "leader-centric, unprogressive culture".
He said the transformation Golding hoped for has either not materialised or is not happening fast enough.
"The consequences of that (Golding's endorsement) - in terms of where we are today - I don't think should be put at the feet of Bruce Golding. Because, frankly speaking, having the succession taking place (and) leadership having emerged, (that leader) should now recognise that if Bruce Golding's (desire) was taken to its logical conclusion, the party needs transformation," said Tufton.
This view formed part of Tufton's response on whether the now retired Golding is disappointed with the state of the JLP today.
One of the transformations Tufton said he wanted to see and he believes Golding (would have) wanted was towards greater openness within the JLP.
He said such openness would have allowed the party to discuss its post-election report which, to date, has not been made public.
Tufton said the closest he has come to seeing the document was when Holness "waved" a document at a Central Executive (the highest decision-making body of the JLP outside of annual conference) and said 'this is the report'.
He said Golding would have been disappointed that the party he left was not open enough to discuss the report and individuals take responsibility.
Returning to Golding's endorsement, he said Holness should have taken the baton of transformation and run with it.
Tufton, the former chair of Generation 2000, the JLP's young professional affiliate, said he was not mad with Golding for appearing to endorse Holness.
Instead, he said Golding wanted a younger leader, who would be more open to democracy and debate.
That was who Golding was, according to Tufton.
He said Golding has deliberately remained silent on what is currently taking place in the party, as he is a "very private person".
"The team that he led and the approach he took was an approach that was of an all-embracing nature of leadership style. He accommodated people who brought him to court; people who did not like him, but it was that team that helped the party win," Tufton argued.
He, too, like Shaw, earlier this month, said Golding's endorsement of Holness was tantamount to interference in the internal democratic process of the party.
"It may have been more than he should have said, or done, because it certainly was perceived by some as sort of ruling out some people. And from that perspective, in a sense, it is sort of interfering in the democratic process, and I think one has to accept that it is a level of interference, or at least influence, attempted influence," stated Tufton, who was one of Golding's top lieutenants, and a key member of the party Golding formed, the National Democratic Movement (NDM).
Golding left the JLP in 1991, citing inter alia its resistance to internal democracy and its unprogressive leader-centric culture.
"Leadership would have had to take the baton and move with it from a long time. But give Golding credit for breaking the losing streak of the JLP," said Tufton, who was one of several young professionals who left the JLP to start the NDM with Golding.