Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Impressed by Golding’s speech

Published:Wednesday | September 20, 2023 | 12:06 AM


As I listened to Mark Golding’s speech at the PNP annual conference, for the first time I felt I was listening to a leader, someone who could become prime minister. He was assertive, confident, inspiring and polished. He spoke with integrity and touched on a wide range of topics, from climate change to crime, education and social reform.

Golding, who is only in his third year as leader of the PNP, has finally found his way on the right trajectory. He will only get better. Golding pushed the right buttons; he capitalised on the irony of ‘the prosperity donkey’ in his message, a potent metaphor referencing the PM’s gift of a donkey to a farmer in St Elizabeth, a story which went viral on multiple platforms.

Golding said the country must sever ties with the UK Privy Council as the final Court of Appeal when Jamaica becomes a republic, a view shared by many. He promised to raise the income tax threshold given the rising inflation, and push for the formality of patois, especially for teaching and learning. He highlighted two main failures of the present administration – failure to deliver on prosperity and security, which many would agree with.

Golding went on to say, “I stand firm in leading our party in our mission of social and economic transformation to better Jamaica for all people.” Indeed, the PNP is returning to its core values and messaging, which is also a good sign.

Overall, the PNP conference was a success, and the strong turnout might’ve surprised many, including those inside.

Golding must not take anything for granted, however. I would like to see the PNP read the room carefully and listen to supporters and critics alike. The perception of the PNP in recent years is one of disunity. The party must evolve and appear as organised as ever.

More women must be visible in the party. Let’s not kid ourselves, Lisa Hanna is still an asset. Her appearance at the conference was riveting and the PNP should find ways to include her in the mission.


There was a report in the media featuring a group of disabled PNP supporters at the conference who called for increased support and greater inclusion in society. These are valid points. Not long ago we heard of disabled students being turned away at high schools due to lack of proper facilities. It is 2023 and we should be moving towards a more inclusive society.

Likewise, fixed election dates should be pursued so that politicians won’t be able to play games with the electorate. We must have legislation supporting impeachment of those elected and appointed to serve, and Parliament attendance must be regulated with consequences.

We hope to hear more from Golding on healthcare, which continues to fail most Jamaicans; and how a PNP administration plans to tackle two of Jamaica’s biggest problems – corruption and crime.