Golding takes issue with TVJ report

Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding has taken issue with Television Jamaica’s (TVJ’s) reporting of his comments about the fraud at investment firm Stocks and Securities Ltd (SSL) which resulted in him being verbally attacked by Cabinet minister Everald Warmington.

“The portrayal of my comments as a criticism of the prime minister and his Government is a setup designed for sensationalism, plain and simple,” Golding said in a letter sent to TVJ senior journalist Dionne Jackson Miller which he shared with the Jamaica Observer.

Golding, in his talk show Jamaica Live on The Bridge 99 FM, recently had agreed with his guest, financial commentator Ralston Hyman, that the Government needed to implement a range of reforms to prevent a recurrence of the fraud at SSL and should sack the entire board at the regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

“The Government has a responsibility, they are the ones that issue licences to these investment houses and in the issuing of the licences what they are saying to the public is that ‘I am satisfied that these are good people to do business with, so you can go do business with them’. Well, that is what Usain Bolt did and look what happened to him,” Golding said.

A clip of Golding’s comment has been making the rounds on social media platforms and was obviously what Warmington was responding to in the TVJ newscast on Wednesday night.

Warmington accused Golding, a former Jamaica Labour Party leader, of attacking the party and, indirectly, Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

On Thursday Golding, in his letter, said he was “not at all perturbed by the brouhaha from Warmington” regarding his comments on the SSL matter.

“I am, however, very perturbed at the unfortunate (and must be) deliberate slant given by your reporter. My criticisms were directed at the FSC, SSL’s internal and external auditors and its management.

“Granted that the political executive has ultimate responsibility, it is more than a stretch for your reporter to conveniently assert that my criticisms were directed ‘and, by extension, at the Government’,” Golding stated.

He pointed to Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke’s revelation on Monday that at no time did the FSC alert him (Clarke) of any concerns regarding SSL. This, Golding said, may well have been the same for former Finance Minister Audley Shaw.

“The FSC has the statutory authority to regulate investment houses — not the political executive. Indeed, it would be undesirable for the political executive to be directly involved in exercising this function. When the FSC falls down on the job, as appears to have happened, the political executive must take appropriate and corrective action as Minister Clarke recently outlined,” Golding said.

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