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Golding targets Shaw on nomination day

Published:Monday | October 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Mark Golding with Peter Bunting at the nomination centre at St Luke's Anglican Church, yesterday.
Audley Shaw arrived with Jamaica Labour Party supporters at the nomination centre at St Theresa's Catholic Church in St Mary, yesterday

The People's National Party's (PNP) candidate for St Andrew Southern, Mark Golding, yesterday took aim at Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw for his "don't draw mi tongue" rhetoric, as both political figures squared off over gross domestic product (GDP) numbers published recently.

Golding released the verbal salvo while preparing to march with supporters from Avon Park to Slipe Road to be nominated.

"That remark was silly platform gibberish," declared Golding, pointing out that his comments were in relation to an incorrect GDP growth out-turn published in the Fiscal Policy Paper by Shaw in Parliament on September 26. "It had said that there was 0.3 per cent growth for the quarter, but within a week, STATIN (the Statistical Institute of Jamaica) had showed that to be a complete error and, in fact, we had negative growth of minus 0.1 per cent, so I was pointing out that he had got his numbers wrong and it is embarrassing for the finance minister to be doing that."

"I wasn't speaking to the factors which have caused the negative growth. Weather has had something to do with it, yes, and mismanagement also."


Shaw hits back


Shaw, speaking at a JLP rally in St Mary South East on Sunday, castigated Golding for his comments on the contraction in the economy for the second quarter of 2017 without highlighting the effects of drought and flooding that impacted the growth target. Said Shaw: "Mark! Don't draw Man a Yaad tongue you know."

However, in what is expected to be a showdown in the House of Representatives, Golding said his constituents are very anxious for him to enter the Lower House to hold the Government accountable and to keep it on its toes.

He said the Government had not produced the kind of growth that the country expected.

"We left a platform where all the macroeconomic numbers were trending in the right direction and with sustained growth, and we had nine quarters of positive growth and then the last quarter we slipped into negative growth again, so we are worried about that."

He said his constituents were also concerned because employment opportunities depended on robust growth. He said this was one issue that his constituents wanted him to keep a close eye on in Parliament, should he be elected on October 30.

Former member of parliament Dr Omar Davies, who, along with the top brass of the PNP, was out in support of Golding, urged the prospective MP to stay close to the people of the constituency and to be "guided by what is right at all times".

Opposition leader and president of the PNP, Dr Peter Phillips, urged supporters of the party to show up on election day and vote for Golding in order to give him the mandate he deserves.