Golding's failure to lead

Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding is in trouble.

After being in office for nearly a year, Golding might be on his way out due to the surge in murders, political corruption and police brutality on the island.

Recently Golding was a guest on the BBC program HARDtalk, where he talked about these issues, as well as the hotly contested issue of homophobia in Jamaica.

When asked about his feelings towards gays, Golding replied: “We do have a long-standing culture that is very opposed to homosexuality. I think that is changing. I believe there is greater acceptance now that people have different lifestyles, that their privacy must be respected.”

But then he was probed about having gays in his Cabinet, “A prime minister must decide what he feels would represent to the Jamaican people a cabinet of ministers who will be able to discharge their function without fear, without favour, without intimidation…. Jamaica is not going to allow values to be imposed on it from outside,” he said.

While there were mixed views about Golding's BBC appearance, from both Jamaicans and others throughout the Caribbean, the Jamaica Gleaner made it clear that the Prime Minister is an embarassment to his country.

From the Jamaica Gleaner:

When he was pressed on the [gay] issue, Mr Golding resorted to the tactics of the cornered - neither he nor Jamaica would be dictated to. And, on whether gays can ever sit in a Jamaican Cabinet: "Sure ... but not in mine."

Jamaica and Mr Golding can expect further pressure from the international community, which is the lesser of the outcomes from the PM's performance. His greater failure is that of leadership.

A potentially unintended consequence of Mr Golding's trenchant statement is that people interpret it as vindication of homophobic and anti-gay violence and for the liberation of the voyeurs.

I couldn't agree more.

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