Radio station The Bridge 99 FM is defending ‘Jamaica Live’ host Bruce Golding after the former prime minister, in his criticism of the unfolding Stocks & Securities Limited (SSL) fraud scandal, was the subject of a scathing rebuke from Cabinet minister Everald Warmington.
The Bridge 99 FM, in a statement on Friday (January 27), noted that as a citizen of this country, Golding has a right to freely speak on matters of national interest.
During Monday’s televised broadcast of ‘Jamaica Live’, Golding argued that the SSL scandal reflects badly on the Holness administration.
“You know, Government [has] a responsibility. They are the ones that issue licences to these investment houses and in the issuing of the licence, what they are saying to the public is that ‘I am satisfied that these are good people to do business with so you can go do business with them’. Well, that is what Usain Bolt did and look what to him?” he said.
Less than 48 hours later, while on tour in the constituency of North East St Elizabeth, an irate Warmington berated the former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader for ‘suggesting’ that the current government was responsible.
In no uncertain terms, the minister without portfolio was adamant Golding’s ‘attacks’ were a betrayal of the organisation he once led and lacked merit.
“My position, based on the statement…enough is enough. We’re gonna talk Government encouraging people to invest in SSL—what on earth does the Government have to do with SSL?” began Warmington.
“That’s a private investment entity! I have never heard PJ Patterson or Portia Simpson [Miller] attack their government [or] their party regardless of how unpopular it was,” the firebrand politician continued.
According to Warmington, it would have been better if Golding contacted Prime Minister Andrew Holness “and talk to him behind closed doors”.
“But he [Golding] keeps on sniping and it’s an attack indirectly on my prime minister, my government and my party and I will defend the Jamaica Labour Party, Andrew Holness administration and Prime Minister Andrew Holness by any means necessary,” he mused.
In solidarity with Golding, The Bridge 99 FM counterargued that no aspect of his commentary could “have been reasonably construed as an attack on any individual or organisation”.
“Mr Golding abided by the regulations laid down by the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and was quite civil and measured in his commentary. He did not berate or libel anyone,” The Bridge 99 FM contended.
The Robert Clarke-led company implored Warmington to ‘exercise control’ in his public rhetoric and expressed concern at the continued coarsening of political discourse in Jamaica.
See statement in full below:
“The Bridge 99 FM views with great concern the verbal attack that was levelled against former prime minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding on a recently televised newscast arising from comments he made on his programme, Jamaica Live, aired weekly on our station.
We at The Bridge are in full support of Mr Golding in the airing of his views with which we might not always find agreement. We believe that freedom of expression is an inalienable right of every citizen whether one is a talk show host, a former prime minister, a member of the public; or a parliamentary representative.
In our review of the referenced episode of ‘Jamaica Live’ we, the operators of The Bridge 99 FM, are convinced that nothing in Mr Golding’s comments on the programme could have been reasonably construed as an attack on any individual or organisation. Mr Golding abided by the regulations laid down by the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and was quite civil and measured in his commentary. He did not berate or libel anyone.
The vitriolic attack against Mr Golding is therefore cause for particular concern, especially at a time when our beloved country is experiencing a coarsening of our political discourse and a spiralling crime rate.
Against this background, it is imperative that those who have been tapped to lead exercise the utmost control in their utterances and the signals they send to the vulnerable members of our society.”