Orette Bruce Golding became Jamaica’s 8th Prime Minister on the 11th of Sept 2007, like most Jamaican politicians Golding was less than perfect. Golding was a second Generation politician , being the son of Tacius Golding, who served as a member of parliament, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Golding spent less than a full term in office, he resigned in 2001 after the fallout over the extradition of Christopher (Dudus Coke. Among the things Golding pushed for as Prime Minister was that Jamaica break ties with the British Monarchy and become a Republic. Golding reiterated this call in a budget debate in 2011 , saying quote.”Transforming Jamaica from a monarchical to a republican state means no disrespect, and must not be interpreted this way”.
May 2008 Golding told Stephen Sackur of the BBC, that any cabinet formed by him would exclude any MP known to be gay. In previous statements, Golding has stated that he and his party strongly opposed public displays of homosexuality in Jamaica and that he felt that they should continue to be illegal in keeping with Jamaican societal norms.
August 2009 The United States Government demand the extradition of Christopher Dudus Coke to the United States. Prime Minister Bruce Golding whose Constituency of West Kingston also doubles as the epic center of Coke’s Empire had a decision to make.
If Golding resisted attempts to extradite Coke, he faced the wrath of a massive American backlash. If he acquiesced to America’s demands he faced massive resistance in his own constituency and possibly a Nationwide insurrection which would mean the end of his tenure as Prime Minister.
Faced with those realities Golding decided to delay the extradition process while he sought back channel solutions to his dilemma. Back channel approaches are practiced by every Government , including the powerful United States. That back channel was engaging the services of Washington Law Firm Mannat Phelps and Phillips to lobby the US State Department on Golding’s behalf. This did nothing to alleviate Washington’s pressure on Golding. Word leaked out about the lobbying efforts, Golding was forced to take a more strident stance against America’s demands, declaring that Jamaican policy was not formulated in Ligunea.
Ligunea being the St Andrew home based of the US Embassy.
Under heavy pressure from Washington, May 21 Bruce Golding capitulated to America’s demands and authorized the extradition of Christopher Coke. All hell broke loose. The events which followed , led to the deaths of over 73 Jamaicans . Christopher Coke is presently sitting in an American Federal Prison.
Golding had no option but to resign. Who could have leaked the information about the retention of Mannat Phelps and Phillips? Lawyers have a duty to protect the privacy of their clients. The Arm twisting to leak the information must have come from high above which forced Mannat to yield.
Just prior to National Elections scheduled for December 2011 ,Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition leader, in a televised debate said quote :
“No-one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. I think we should have a look at the buggery law and members of parliament should be given the right to vote with their conscience, in consultation with their constituents. I do not have any intention of prying into the private business of anyone, I would appoint anyone with the ability, the capacity and the capability in my cabinet.”
On December 29th 2011 Portia Simpson Miller became Prime Minister elect beating Andrew Holness in a landslide which surprised even the Party Portia heads.