Will Kenny follow Golding rule?

It is instructive and convenient to take a close look at Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, signing off after 40 years of his political sojourn. His gracious handover speaks volumes about his character. His departing words extolling the virtues of a younger generation has laid the groundwork for thirty-nine-year-old Andrew Holness to emerge as Jamaica’s next Prime Minister.
Resonating through the corridors of regional politics, Prime Minister Golding in his official resignation had this to say: “I was first elected to Parliament almost 40 years ago. In the next two months I will be 64. I feel it is time for me and people like me to make way and allow a new crop of leaders to step forward and unleash their energies and creativity. There are young people in my party, indeed in both parties, who are capable of providing the leadership that the country requires at this time. We must not, for the sake of personal ambition, block their emergence. My advice and counsel will always be available if and when required.”
Brilliantly stated and politically calculated, his announcement has given the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) an instantaneous lift in its contest with the PNP, according to public opinion polls, and handed them a chance at another term in office. The two parties are currently neck-and-neck. Indeed, his pending successor, Andrew Holness is not new to the political fray, but his youthful vigor and constituents glowing observations about his unifying spirit, may be the right mix to set the country on a stable and sound economic course. As news of Golding’s departure was announced, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made it known publicly that it was paying attention to the transition: a warning perhaps to the JLP that rocking the leadership boat with a chaotic process may not be in the best economic interest of the country.
The move by three other contenders to throw their support behind the West St Andrew Member of Parliament, Andrew Holness, paved the way for him to take over the reigns as the next Prime Minister and leader of the JLP without a contentious struggle, making his appointment all but certain. Outgoing Prime Minister Bruce Golding made it clear that his preference was for a young person who was seasoned in the political arena. By shining the bright light on youthful experience and signaling the need for a new dispensation of energetic and creative leaders, Golding took a shot at the dinasouric tendencies in his party. It appears he was sending an unambiguous message that it is time for new thinking and risk taking. He was challenging the old and tired way of doing business and ushering in a bold and courageous approach to governance in the 21st century. It was a call to put country ahead of personal ambition. There was some initial grumbling from the old heads, but it appears they have heeded the rallying call.
Juxtapose Golding’s relinquishing of office to that of other regional leaders who it appears will not give up political office until they are hounded out. Until Golding, Caribbean leaders have held on to office as if it was their birthright. They have resisted any attempts at constitutional reform that will allow for term limits. When there have been attempts at the party level to institute some sensible measures, party operatives have reneged on such arrangements and even changed their party constitutions to hold
on to leaders already rejected by the masses! And such operatives have engaged in such actions, in spite of the fact that new leaders would give their parties a clean shot at an election victory. The constant recycling of politicians whose best days have long passed,
and who should have departed, allowing the breathing of fresh ideas
into the political process, is the biggest stumbling block to meaningful and progressive political leadership.
I am on record for having made it abundantly clear that Dr Kenny Anthony should have done the principled and correct thing in December 2006, when a politically disenfranchised 82-year -old octogenarian and former Prime Minister, John Compton, returned to the head of the United Workers Party after a long sabbatical away from active politics, to boot the Saint Lucia Labour Party out of office. Kenny had already done two terms as party leader. Kenny should have promptly handed in his letter of resignation, leaving the road unencumbered for the ushering in of Philip J Pierre or Mario Michel as the new leader. All party supporters would have wholeheartedly embraced any of these two stalwarts, both of whom had shown abundant leadership qualities over many
years. Even some UWP supporterswould have migrated to the SLP. Labour’s loss in 2006 was a blessing in disguise.                 It was a God-sent opportunity for the party to clean out its cupboards, and scatter the cobwebs into the sea at Conway, if not at Dauphin. My beloved comrade and friend, Julian Hunte, a man of vision, had already prepared the groundwork for revolutionary leadership succession in the Labour Party when he instituted under his watch the two-term limit, enshrining that principle in the Labour Party’s Constitution. Kenny Anthony himself, a constitutional lawyer, was the principal architect of the design. When Kenny’s turn came to show slate and respect the Constitution, he was too consumed with his own ego and self interest to step aside.
I have taken numerous body slams from my brothers and sisters in the Labour Party, for my position in this matter, but I will march onward like the “Christian
Soldiers” on to Valhalla, with my principles and my dignity intact on this score, holding
my head high. Numerous party supporters have smeared my name with mud because of this stance. But this issue is not about Kenny as a person. This is not personal, it is political! It is late in the day though for my party to change its leadership,
and I wish Dr Kenny Anthony,  the leadership and the Labour masses,
all the very best of success in these upcoming elections.
Bruce Golding has therefore taught Kenny Anthony a lesson. Well, we are never too old to learn! His humble demitting of office and his willingness to put country ahead of his own ambition is a telling sign of a statesman and leader who understands that competent and efficient leadership is also able to discern when it is time to leave center stage. Departure time is not determined by your age, or your whims and fancies. When you have completed your allotted terms, as enshrined in the Constitution, it’s time to make way for the youth. There is nothing unmanly about surrendering the helm when it  is clear that patriotism demands a new way forward. It is absolutely refreshing and invigorating when you can usher in a brand new wave of leaders who share your values, and who are as competent and reliable to continue, expand, and deepen policies for meaningful and progressive change.
The lesson is abundantly clear: There is a time for everything under the sun. A time to keep and a time to let go!There are many St Lucian and other regional leaders who can learn a vital lesson from Golding’s distinguished exit. They can certainly take a page from the Golding Standard now set for regional politicians. Congratulations Bruce!

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