Honourable Orette Bruce Golding M.P. (1947 - ) - The National Library of Jamaica

Honourable Orette Bruce Golding M.P. (1947 - )

Early Years

Orette Bruce Golding, the third of four children was born to father Tacius Golding, and mother Enid Golding (nee Bent) on December 5, 1947. He was born in the home of his godmother Mrs. Winnifred Stewart where his mother was staying in order to be in close proximity to the doctor.  Shortly after birth, he was taken home to the community of Ginger Ridge, St. Catherine where he lived for two years.  The Golding family then moved to the community of St. Faiths District near Browns Hall St. Catherine, where they lived for the next five years. He was enrolled in Watermount Elementary School at the age of five, two years younger than the normal enrolment age; the then principal was early childhood education pioneer D.R.B. Grant. In January of 1954 he was sent to live for six months with his aunt at Skibo in Portland.  During his stay he attended the Skibo Elementary School. He then returned to St. Faiths District and attended the Macca Tree Elementary School where his father was principal.

As a result of the fact that his mother Enid Golding was then employed to Alpha Primary School in January 1955, he was enrolled in this institution. He sat the Common Entrance Examination in 1957 and was successful. However, he was not awarded a free space to St. Georges College on the grounds that he was too young.  Armed with his common entrance results, the young Bruce Golding went to St. Georges College without the knowledge or consent of his parents to plead his case. The then headmaster, Fr. Edward Donahue, overheard him speaking with his secretary and took him into his office. As a result, he accepted him as a first form student under the condition his parents could afford to pay the tuition.  In 1962 he successfully sat the Cambridge Examination before he reached the age of 15 years. In 1963 he then transferred to Jamaica College to pursue his Religious Knowledge and was also chosen to represent the school as Head Boy.  In 1966 he enrolled in the University of the West Indies where he studied Economics.  He graduated three years later with a B.Sc. Degree in Economics.

POLITICAL LIFE

From an early age Mr. Golding has been involved in Jamaica’s political arena. His father Tacius Golding was first elected to the House of Representatives for West St. Catherine in 1949 when young Golding was two years old. By the General Elections of 1962 Bruce had taken on the task of setting up and operating the public address systems at political meetings. In 1967 while still at university Mr. Golding suspended his studies due to changes in the constituency boundaries which resulted in a political crisis for his father. Golding took charge of his father’s campaign which resulted in his winning the seat by a small margin of 878 votes compared to the usual over 3000 votes. In 1968, Bruce Golding was elected Vice Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party Constituency Executive for West St. Catherine and appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the National Lotteries Commission while still attending university.

In 1969, after completing his studies at the University of the West Indies, Golding was selected as the candidate for West St. Catherine; he was only 21 years old. He was also elected to the Central Executive of the Jamaica Labour Party and was one of the founders of the youth arm “Young Jamaica”. He went on to be elected the youngest Member of Parliament in the 1972 general elections at 24 years old. In 1972 Bruce Golding was appointed a member of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Jamaica. The year 1974 saw him being elected General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party. Mr. Golding was not reelected as Member of Parliament for the West St. Catherine seat in the 1976 General Election. He then withdrew from representative politics in 1977 in order to concentrate more on his responsibility as general secretary and was also appointed to the senate.

Bruce Golding was instrumental in returning the Jamaica Labour Party to power in the 1980 general election. He was appointed Minister of Construction. Mr. Golding was elected Member of Parliament for then South Central St. Catherine in 1983 and was also reelected in 1989 and 1993 each time increasing his margin. On September 30, 1984 Bruce Golding was elected Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party after serving for over ten years as General Secretary.

In the 1990’s the views of the Jamaica Labour Party and that of Mr. Golding began to differ. He began to lobby for major reforms within Jamaica’s political system. This led to major disagreement with some senior members of the Jamaica Labour Party which eventually resulted in Mr. Golding tendering his resignation effective September 6, 1995 as Opposition Spokesman on Finance and by extension Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. He then tendered his resignation to the Jamaica Labour Party effective Monday October 3 1995. The resignation was rejected by the executive of Central St. Catherine which gave him four weeks to decide on his political future. Mr. Golding left the Jamaica Labour Party.

Under the stewardship of Mr. Bruce Golding the National Democratic Movement (NDM) was launched on Sunday, October 29, 1995, where he was elected as its first president. The National Democratic Movement started off well, luring many of Jamaica’s professionals and the public’s support. The party contested its first General Election in December 1997 where they had representatives for most constituencies but were ultimately unsuccessful in gaining seats for the party. The party did not contest the local government election of the following year. Mr. Golding tendered his resignation to the NDM in 2001 and was invited to host a radio talk show “Disclosure” on Hot-102.

In September of 2002, after intensive negotiations Mr. Golding reentered the Jamaica Labour Party. The Party went on to contest the 2002 general election and lost. Shortly after the election he was appointed a Senator and named Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. In February 2005 he was elected Chairman of the Party and in April of the same year elected Member of Parliament for the constituency of West Kingston as well as Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Golding contested the General Election of 2007 as President of the Jamaica Labour Party. The Party was successful in what was the closest election in Jamaica’s history. He was sworn in as the Honourable Orette Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, on September 11, 2007 and served in that position until October 2011.

Bruce Golding is married to the former Miss Lorna Charles. The marriage has produced three children: one boy, Steven Golding and two girls Sherene and Ann-Merita Golding.