Honourable Orette Bruce Golding
Former Prime Minister of Jamaica
Orette Bruce Golding is a Jamaican politician and former Prime Minister.
Early life and education
He is the son of Tacius Golding and Enid Golding (née Bent, died 13 September 2011), both teachers. Bruce was the third of four children: The second—the only girl—died shortly after birth. In 1949, when he was only two years old, his family moved to St. Faiths district near Browns Hall, St. Catherine where he spent the next five years. In 1955, his mother accepted a teaching post at Alpha Academy in Kingston. This necessitated that the family relocate to Kingston.
As a child, Golding grew up in a political environment. He was only two years old in 1949 when his father was first elected as a Member of the House of Representatives for West St. Catherine, a seat that he retained for 22 years until his retirement in 1972. Tacius Golding was the first Speaker of the House in Independent Jamaica and also served as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Housing.
Bruce Golding took office as Jamaica's eighth Prime Minister on 11 September 2007, following victory by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) at the September 3 General Elections.
Buoyed by a rich political tradition and defined by a steely resolve to improve the fortunes of the Jamaican people, he immediately abolished tuition fees in all public secondary schools.
He used the opportunity of his inaugural speech to declare himself the "Chief Servant" of the people and set about building bridges with the Opposition.
With steadfast belief in his vision of a Jamaica where "everyone might not be rich, but no one has to be poor", Bruce Golding has demonstrated strong leadership in making changes to improve people's lives.
In his first year, his administration made the bold move to debate and pass legislation that removed user fees at all public health facilities.
The national minimum wage was significantly increased and more benefits were put under the social safety net programmes; an immediate benefit for lower income earners.
Bruce Golding's appointment to the Office of Prime Minister represented a significant milestone in a journey that began in 1972. At age 24 he became the youngest person to be elected to Gordon House, Jamaica's House of Representatives.
Shortly after graduating with a Degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies, he was elected Vice Chairman of the JLP Constituency Executive for West St. Catherine. His early political career saw him serving the JLP as General Secretary from 1974-1984 and as Chairman from 1984-1985.
He was Member of Parliament for 19 years for the West St. Catherine and Central St. Catherine constituencies and a Senator for nine years. In 1980, he was appointed Minister of Construction, and between 1989 and 1995, he served as Opposition Minister on Finance and Chairman of the Public
Accounts Committee. In 1995 Bruce Golding helped to form Jamaica's third political party, the National Democratic Movement.
As Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding has taken on the challenge of transforming Jamaica's social order, creating opportunities and fulfilling the hopes of the Jamaican people against the background of a harsh global environment.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Golding, policies and transformation programmes implemented for social change include:
- The removal of user fees at public health facilities
- The removal of tuition fees at the secondary level
- The reform of early childhood education
- The review of libel and slander legislation
- The streamlining development approval process
- The expansion of the social safety net by providing more benefits for an increased number of beneficiaries under the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH)
- Establishment of the Constituency Development Fund which empowers the members of Parliament to react to the needs of their constituency.
- Increased national minimum wage
- Implementation of a National Export Strategy
- Opening of lines of communication with citizenry through a monthly radio programme - Jamaica House Live - which provides the opportunity for Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora to speak directly with the Prime Minister
- Formulating an economic stimulus package, in response to the global economic crisis targeting the productive sectors.
On 25 September 2011, Golding advised the JLP's Central Executive—the second highest decision-making body for the party outside the All-Island General Conference—of his intention not to seek re-election as Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party at the party's conference in November 2011 and, upon the election of a new party leader, his intention to step down as Prime Minister of Jamaica. He was replaced as Prime Minister by Andrew Holness.
He is married to businesswoman Lorna Golding, and has three children: Sherene, Steven, and Ann-Merita.