PRIME MINISTER Bruce Golding and his handlers have spent the past month trying to convince Jamaicans that he has the stomach to take the fight to criminals as part of efforts to get him back into everyone’s good books.
Under pressure, with mounting calls for his resignation, Golding and his team have pointed to his administration’s handling of the economy and the assault on crime as proof that he is the right man to lead the country through these troubled waters.
But a recent public opinion poll commissioned by The Gleaner and conducted by Bill Johnson has found that most Jamaicans, up to two months ago, did not believe Golding was the man for the job.
At a time when a coalition of civil society, private-sector entities, academia, the religious community and the opposition was calling for Golding’s head, Johnson took to the streets to ask if the Jamaica Labour Party leader deserved to be re-elected to lead the country.
In the islandwide poll conducted from April 24 to 25 and May 1, with a sample size of 1,008 and a plus or minus three per cent margin of error, Johnson found that 54 per cent of respondents wanted someone else in Jamaica House, while 31 per cent believed Golding was the man for the job.
This reflected a sharp decline (11 per cent) in the number of persons who want Golding as the captain of the ship when compared with the figure in August 2009.
The ranks of those who believe Golding should be replaced swelled by 12 per cent when compared with August 2009.
Golding, as expected, survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament, but calls for his resignation continue, although not as loudly or as concentrated as two months ago.
Then, Golding was in the middle of the controversy over the United States extradition request for west Kingston strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke and the muddle over who had contracted the American firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to negotiate with United States authorities.
Having signed the extradition request for Coke, the Golding-headed adminsitration embarked on a security forces-led ope-ration to retake the ‘Republic of Tivoli’ before moving on to other garrisons and gang leaders.
Now, cabinet ministers use every opportunity to talk up Golding’s commitment to tame the crime monster.
But one of his former colleagues believes it is only a matter of time before Golding will again find himself under pressure to resign.
“Golding is trapped by the tribal political system, and it is only because the people don’t want Portia Simpson Miller and the PNP, and the people still don’t accept that a third party is a viable option, why Golding has survived,” argued Mike Williams, general secretary of the National Democratic Movement.
Do you think Bruce Golding deserves to be re-elected prime minister?
Deserves 42 %31 %
Someone else42 %54 %
Don’t know16 %15 %
Source: Bill Johnson Poll, 2010