In a virtual campaign launch his team said had racked up more than 18,000 online views by Monday morning, Mark Golding on Sunday night declared himself the man to lead the People’s National Party into an era of new vision and viability.
“My exciting new vision is to end corruption in governance, significantly reduce violent crime, grow a strong and inclusive economy and lead Jamaica to its rightful place among the great nations of this world,” Golding said as he took centrestage on the PNP-themed set.
Golding is in a race against Lisa Hanna to convince party delegates who should replace PNP President Dr Peter Phillips in the leadership election set for November 7.
“It is time for the party to show some love for the workers who have served the movement so well but face real struggles in their own lives.”
The former justice minister’s speech zeroed in on encouraging greater levels of youth participation as well as showing appreciation for the efforts of longstanding party workers.
“It is time for the party to show some love for the workers who have served the movement so well but face real struggles in their own lives,” Golding said as he vowed to set up, within his first 100 days, a trust fund to assist workers in areas including housing, health, education and entrepreneurship.
The fund, he said, would start with $15 million and be named after late party co-founder O.T. Fairclough.
Noting that there was need for the party to fashion policies to attract youth, Golding said there would be a greater level of consultation with young people.
“We must show that our party embraces and values our young people.”
He said his vision also included a highly skilled and motivated modern Secretariat that would underpin a major recruitment exercise, a robust enumeration process and a strong emphasis on poltiical education.
“We must embark on a new era of revitalising party groups giving them a sense of purpose and insentivising their meaningful engagement in communities,” Golding said, noting that officers of the party would be assigned overall responsibility for each of the critical areas identified and would be held accountable.
Ahead of Golding’s presentation, the Go with Golding campaign launch showed video-recorded endorsements from business luminaries Joseph M. Matalon, Chris Dehring and Gary Sinclair, who spoke glowingly of his record of achievement as a commercial lawyer and businessman
Also endorsing Golding live from the stage were Omar Newell, president of the Patriots, and Esther Wauchope Freehill, vice president of the PNP’s Women’s Movement Region 1.
Newell said Golding was the least polarising member of parliament and hailed his track record as a builder who’s margin of victory in his South St Andrew constituency would free him up to focus on the issues plaguing the party.
The comment was a not-so-subtle dig at Hanna, who barely won her South East St Ann seat by 31 votes at the magisterial recount after the September 3 general elections.