All posts by Xaymaca

Losers Unite !

Ian Hayles and Richard Azan both lost their seats in the last election, but, as Golding loyalists, they are both on track to be elected PNP Vice Presidents at the party congress in September. They were at Peter Bunting’s Central Manchester constituency conference to show support for Bunting who, after 13 years, was ousted on September 3, 2020 as Manchester Central MP by Rhoda Moy Crawford. Apparently the 3 losers united in attacking Miss Crawford, with Azan even going so far as to say she was not quite right upstairs. The PNP don’t seem to have learned that sexist attacks on JLP women don’t work (see Damian Crawford’s comments about Ann Marie Vaz).

In fact, it is unlikely that either Hayles or Azan would be in line for such important posts as Vice President if Bunting had won last September and become PNP President and Leader of the Opposition, since Bunting is a far more adept politician than the flailing Golding.

Meanwhile Karen Cross launched a Go Fund Me to raise funds to pay the fine incurred when she declined to take down various posts on social media defaming PNP General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell. All in all it’s been a bad couple of weeks for the One PNP faction.

The Government on a slippery slope

Last week CAPRI advised the government that the current minimum wage is too low to ensure families can live above poverty level and only 1 in 4 needy families received funds from the Government’s Care package.

The Government’s decision to relax the coronavirus restrictions also looks to have been a very bad decision as positivity rates and hospitalisations have arced upwards. If schools can’t open in September because of the spread of the virus, the pandemic will have dealt a killer blow to Jamaica’s Vision 2030 as hundreds of thousands of students fall so far behind in their education that they can never catch up.

And despite the Ministry of Health’s best efforts thousands of health care workers are declining to take the vaccine, making the Government’s plans to reach herd immunity slip further out of reach.

Meanwhile there have been 806 murders up till July 24, 2021, an increase of 52 over the same period in 2020. Crime is one area where the Government needs to make some progress soon, as nothing much has happened since the JLP taking office in 2016. The only thing saving the Government from abject failure is the relative popularity of the Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson.

Entertainment Report ?

The Prime Minister opened the Entertainment sector and the PNP immediately trended on Twitter as its 4 Vice Presidents and the Head of the PNP YO resigned. Julian Robinson denied that he was about to become Leader of the Opposition as it was rumoured the majority of PNP MP’s were headed to Kings House to tell the Governor General that they had lost confidence in Mark Golding.

Phillip Paulwell claimed that his US visa was taken away through the machinations of other comrades and Krystal Tomlinson accused her General Secretary of forming fraudulent groups with a view to manipulating future elections.

Although Mark Golding lost a spat with Ann Marie Vaz (who has a bigger problem with murders, Portland Eastern or St Andrew South ? Golding had more murders by more than 6 to 1 ), he seems to have won the battle for control of the party. He has lost the most popular member of the PNP, Damian Crawford, but of course popularity is relative, as Crawford lost a PNP safe seat to aforementioned JLP newcomer Ann Marie Vaz.

We should all be hoping that the PNP now settles down and goes back to rebuilding its base as, entertaining though the infighting is, a strong Opposition is a necessary part of good governance.

The Government continued with the clean up in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Elsa and continued to struggle in governance matters as Minister of National Security Horace Chang suggested that INDECOM should be reined in and the Integrity Commission is charging 2 unidentified lawmakers with illicit enrichment.

Notes

No elections ! I mean it this time !

The Prime Minister Andrew Holness says there are no local government elections this year. Based on his denials last year, that means we can expect the elections to be called in August.

The junior doctors staged a one day sick out which was apparently enough to force the Ministry of Health to address some of their most pressing issues – length of contracts and payment of gratuities.

Vaccines have arrived (65,000 doses) in time to give everyone who needs it a second dose. However the European Union is still banning visitors who received the Indian made Astra Zeneca vaccine, as opposed to the European made Astra Zeneca vaccine.

Tropical Storm Elsa passed through and exposed the fact that, toll roads excepted, the roads recently constructed in the Corporate Area and elsewhere were built without adequate drainage. Bring back Gully Government !

And the Opposition’s own goals continue as the PNP-controlled Westmoreland Municipal Corporation has issued a stop order on the construction of a house being built by the PNP’s O.T. Fairclough Trust Fund, which was established last year by Opposition Leader Mark Golding. Apparently, there is neither a building permit nor a waiver in place. Golding caused much hilarity on social media recently when he was filmed at the house placing a block without using mortar.

Notes

Vaccines, vaccines !

Minister of Health Chris Tufton has had a rough week. Soldiers turned away hundreds of people flocking to vaccination sites islandwide to get their second dose. In some places only people under 50 were refused a second dose, but at others the huge queues in advance of the site opening meant that the site was closed without a single vaccine being administered. Vaccines are apparently on the way but right now there are clearly not enough for those who want them.

At the same time nurses were complaining that they haven’t received their hazard pay for the vaccination blitz and more than a hundred doctors are concerned that their contracts have not been extended or they are only being offered six month contracts. The Minister seems to be suffering from cognitive dissonance as he was appearing on all the talk shows to urge that the doctors and nurses be paid and their contracts sorted out immediately. If the Minister is not responsible for solving the problem, who is?

Tufton is riding a sea of goodwill as his valiant efforts to combat the pandemic have met with some success over past fifteen months, however people’s memories are short and some of the problems at the Health Ministry are recurring decimals: there is never enough money available for timely payments to health workers and the Cornwall Regional Hospital renovations were slated for completion by the end of 2020 (and all now nothing ūüėĒ).

While Tufton struggled, the Prime Minister basked in the approval of most Jamaicans as he relaxed the curfew restrictions as of July 1, 2021. The nightly curfew moves to 11pm to 5am Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 5am on Sunday, and most importantly the entertainment sector will be allowed to reopen subject to receipt of the proper permits. According to many on social media people in their area are behaving as if the 11pm curfew is already in force and, of course, the partying never stopped for some. No sooner had the Prime Minister announced the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, than many critics pointed out that the Delta variant (which has apparently not reached Jamaica yet) is causing infection rates to rise rapidly in many countries around the world (US, UK, Israel, South Africa), the so-called third wave. Dog nyam we supper.

Opposition business

The Opposition continued to try to capitalise on the George Wright matter, continuing to press for him to be seated with the Government rather than among Opposition members. Karen Cross did not turn up to her disciplinary hearing. Dr Morais Guy berated the Minister of Health for his treatment of healthcare workers and Mark Golding made forays around the island attacking the Government on a variety of issues. Peter Bunting suggested that the easing of restrictions means the local government elections are near. He is no doubt mindful of the PM’s protestations last June that he had no intention of calling an election, only to call it 2 months later.

However, the general pandemic attitude of the populace still seems to be that if you’re not the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health or the CMO, (Chief Medical Officer Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie) them don wan hear nutten from you.

Notes:

Jamaican politics revisited

Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding continues to struggle to unite the party. The party has been divided since Portia Simpson Miller took over as leader in 2006 and the disunity continued under Peter Phillips. Fifteen years is a long time to be fighting over the leadership. The central issue of who has the right to lead Norman Manley’s party is apparently a matter of both credentials and electability. Portia was electable but lacked the middle class credentials, Peter Phillips had the credentials but was ultimately poison at the ballot box. Mark Golding is a lawyer, a banker and, like Bob Marley, has an English father and a Jamaican mother. He needs more time to demonstrate whether he can appeal to Jamaican voters.

It’s not clear why Golding is causing so much dissension inside the party. There are no policy or ideological issues at stake. It seems that just as Peter Phillips refused to accept Portia as leader, some members of the PNP are refusing to accept Golding on no better grounds than he was not their choice. He and Dayton Campbell were key figures in Peter Bunting’s Rise United faction that attempted to unseat Peter Phillips in 2019. The argument that the Risers caused the PNP to lose the 2020 election ignores the fact that the PNP and Phillips were never ahead in the polls after 2016. In any case most of the Risers lost their seats and the prime culprit, Peter Bunting, is sidelined in the Senate alongside another PNP leader wannabe Damion Crawford. Supporters of Lisa Hanna can’t deny that she has major problems in her constituency, with the resignation of another councillor. Until she can sort out her home turf, she continues to lack credibility as a leadership contender. However, Golding has not yet found his feet. He seems to have retained the same inept communications team that made Peter Phillips a laughing stock on social media, and he is a long way from remaking himself as a man of the people.

Until Mark Golding has been at least a year in office and the pollsters can go in the field, the question of his electability may best be answered by observing the current Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Nationwide’s 2020 Blue Dot poll found him to be enjoying historic levels of popularity. Can he sustain this until the next election in 2024/5 ? The success of the weekend lockdowns (since March 2021 ) in reducing the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations suggests that, right now, the Prime Minister and the government continue to enjoy the confidence of the majority who are willing to endure the very considerable difficulty and inconvenience of the lockdowns. There are many gripes about corruption, the indifference to the environment when mining or a new hotel is in the balance, crime continues unabated, vaccines are running short, and more than a hundred thousand children have not attended any form of school since the pandemic began, but nothing has yet happened to cause the nation’s hearts and minds to turn hopefully to the warring PNP.

Violence against women is a problem for both parties: George Wright’s resignation from the JLP still leaves him with a seat in Parliament (and he is insisting he will not only not resign but will run again) and Dayton Campbell’s defamation lawsuit against Karen Cross et al will be winding its way through the courts for months to come. As usual, both parties will hope for other less vexing issues to take over on social media and the front pages of the newspapers long before they are forced to do anything substantive.

Golding has appointed Tony Bogues, formerly Michael Manley’s right hand man, to chair the party’s Policy/Vision Committee. This is apparently in response to those who feel that the party has lost its way and needs to find out what it stands for. Arguably neither the PNP or the JLP have stood for much of anything since the end of the Cold War. Both parties run on promoting growth in a market economy, a slate of competent candidates, policies that favour both business and the working class, with a little something thrown in for the poor. Who wins appears to depend on the popularity of the leader and their supporting cast. Right now Holness, Tufton et al are winning the race.

Your feel good tune of the week is Go Down Deh.

Notes

  1. https://jamaica.loopnews.com/content/put-cass-cass-aside-and-unite-golding-urges-comrades
  2. https://nationwideradiojm.com/nnn-blue-dot-poll-holness-preferred-by-over-2-to-1-majority-in-match-up-with-phillips/
  3. https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/george-wright-speaks-finally-embattled-westmoreland-mp-says-he-s-been-meditating-not-upset-with-anyone_22366
  4. http://radiojamaicanewsonline.com/local/pnp-backs-dayton-campbell-rejects-calls-for-him-to-resign-amid-damning-allegations
  5. https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20210609/editorial-if-pnp-save-itself
  6. https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/PNP_appoints_Professor_Anthony_Bogues_as_Policy_Commission_chair
  7. https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20210612/pnps-st-ann-south-east-constituency-exec-meet-sunday-over-hanna-bell-discord

Wikileaks 3, Jamaica Labour Party 0

James Robertson resigned as Minister of Energy when he lost his visa. Then Wikileaks gave us this cable: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/09/07KINGSTON1470.html

Here’s a snippet:

26.(C) In 2004, Robertson was named along with fellow JLP
members, Shahine Robinson and Horace Chang, as being
involved with money laundering and organized crime by local
sources.  According to DEA sources he was involved with
Norris Nembhard, a drug kingpin awaiting deportation to the
U.S.  The source alleged that RobertsonQs father, Ishmael
Robertson, was forced to hand over acres of land to settle
his sonQs drug debts to Nembhard.  Robertson has also has
had frictions with fellow JLP stalwarts in the past.  In
2003 he defeated Babsy Grange as Deputy Leader, and caused
her to lose her composure and shout expletives from the
podium during a party conference.  In the past he also was
critical of Bruce Golding for not standing up to Seaga
earlier and for walking away and forming the new party
instead of fighting it out.  These past frictions maybe the
reason why Robertson was given the most minor Cabinet post
of all 18 nominees.  However, because of his long service
and current rank within the party, Golding was unable to
completely bypass him for the Cabinet.

Christopher “Dudus” Coke shocked many Jamaicans by not going to trial, pleading guilty and then begging for mercy. Best line from Mr Coke:-

“I’m pleading guilty because I am,” said Coke, who faces up to 23 years in prison when he is sentenced in December.¬†

We’ve always heard that the baddest Jamaicans crumble when faced with real time in a real U.S. prison. So we hear it and so it go…..

And now, Bruce Golding is also “pleading ¬†guilty because I am”…….Maybe he could have survived the Manatt/Dudus enquiry, but not the confirmation by Wikileaks that he lied, lied and lied some more…..

So congratulations Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. You are locked up in America and locked down in England, and taking down politicians and dons across the globe.

Take it away, Tom Lehrer:

We will all go together when we go…

Now here in Jamaica we can have fun trying to figure out the real connections between these three men (….did Dudus send message for Bruce to resign?….. did Harold Brady play his card ?…..did James say he’s not going to prison if he can possibly sell out everyone he’s ever known or ever met ?…..) and speculate on who’s next:

Who’s Next


 

 

 

How to find Wikileaks cables from Embassy Kingston

Please note that every time new cables are released the “Embassy Kingston” cables move to a new URL. However, the cables only become available¬†after¬†our local news organizations have published articles about them, so you may need to wait a few days to read the cable for yourself.

You can find the current site by going to the¬†Wikileaks Page¬†(wikileaks.org), and looking to see if the page is labelled “Browse by Embassy Kingston”.

If it is not, then proceed to scroll down the page looking on the left hand side for the section “Browse by origin”. Click on the letter K to see the list of all Embassies beginning with K.

Select Embassy Kingston to go to the new page containing all the cables.

 

Read the cables yourself: Cables from the US Embassy in Kingston now available on Wikileaks website

While the Gleaner is much to be thanked and praised for publishing articles on the US Embassy cables (made available to the world by Wikileaks), most of us would rather read the cables ourselves and make up our own minds about the contents.

 

The Gleaner for some reason is leaving out the juicy bits (yes, Phillip Paulwell is the corrupt senior PNP politician that the US Embassy hoped would not be in Portia’s Cabinet…..) and the funny bits (yes, the US Embassy describes the JLP as being the party of the “middle class intelligentsia”…..).

The currently available cables from Embassy Kingston are here:


Anyway, for those of you short on time some of the cables are excerpted below. Enjoy.

Source tells US Embassy that Peter Phillips has PNP leadership election locked up in early 2006:

Sample from cable:

According to
XXXXXXXXXXXX, Patterson persuaded Davies to enter the race to
provide a more promising (and palatable) alternative than
Blythe to Phillips and Simpson Miller, and because Patterson
harbors long-standing grudges against both Phillips and
Simpson Miller.  Patterson, he explained, has never forgotten
that it was Phillips who conveyed then-Prime Minister Michael
Manley's 1991 request for Patterson's resignation as Finance
Minister after Patterson was found to have improperly waived
fuel import duties for a PNP crony who was also the local
manager for a multinational petroleum company.  As for
Simpson Miller, she earned Patterson's ire by daring to run
(unsuccessfully, as it turned out) against him to succeed
Manley in 1992, and by frequently missing or arriving late to
Cabinet meetings over the years, which Patterson viewed as a
lack of respect for his authority.

 

After Portia wins the February 2006 PNP leadership election, US Embassy hopes that she won’t appoint Paulwell to her Cabinet:http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/03/06KINGSTON542.html

Gleaner story on this cable from Friday, May 27th, 2011: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110527/lead/lead1.html
Sample:

Canadian DCM Brian Burton told DCM 

March 16 that Hylton had visited his boss, Canadian High
Commissioner Claudio Valle, earlier that day to ask Valle
whether the U.S. Ambassador and the British High Commissioner
had intended to convey a message to Simpson Miller.
According to Burton, Valle, who knows Simpson Miller well
from two previous tours in Jamaica and who planned to have a
one-on-one conversation with her about corruption concerns,
responded frankly to Hylton's inquiry.  Valle bluntly
confirmed to Hylton that the Canadian, U.S. and U.K. missions
are indeed concerned about Paulwell's reputed illicit
activities and associations, and by the possibility that he
(or others like him who supported Simpson Miller's campaign)
could hold sensitive positions, or wield influence, in her
government. Burton added that Hylton did not seem surprised
by Valle's remarks.

 

US Embassy in Kingston speculates on the 2007 election:

Sample from cable:

f the JLP Wins: How will the U.S. accommodate a closer
relationship?
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

7.(C)  A JLP victory would represent a sea change in
Jamaica's political direction.  As outlined Reftel (F),
across a broad spectrum of issues-- from Venezuela and Cuba
to trade liberalization, market-driven development,
anti-corruption efforts, and Iraq-- the fundamental
orientation of the JLP is more consonant with U.S. policies
than that of the current Government.  In private discussions
with DCM and Emboff, Golding and other JLP officials have
stated that, upon taking power, they will look to the U.S.
for advice and assistance in areas as diverse as: 

-- harnessing remittances to boost economic development
-- biofuels
-- expansion of microfinance
-- reform, clean-up, and training/equipping of the Jamaica
Constabulary Force (JCF)
-- financing infrastructure development. 

In short, the expectations of a newly-elected JLP Government
would be high; the U.S. might well have difficulty meeting
them.  Washington should accommodate to the extent possible
Golding's request for a visit (Reftel D) to discuss areas of
potential cooperation, and begin thinking about what sort of
response we would be able to make to a request for enhanced
engagement by a more U.S.-oriented JLP Government, should
that come to pass.

 

Sharon Hay-Webster shenanigans mentioned in this August 2009 cable:

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/08/09KINGSTON611.html

Sample:

One PNP MP representing South Central St. Catherine, visited Embassy Kingston on July 31 to renounce U.S. citizenship, only to withdraw the renunciation four days later.  Nevertheless, over a week later the Jamaica Gleaner published an article on the MP's renunciation
with no mention of its withdrawal, suggesting that the MP intends to leave the public impression of having renounced U.S. citizenship.

 

Audrey Marks visits the U.S. Embassy to urge them not to pressure Bruce re Dudus in this September 9,  2009 cable:

Sample:

4. (C) The CDA stressed to Marks how important it is to the
USG that the GOJ observe its treaty obligations and cooperate
in Coke's extradition. Normally such extradition requests are
executed within two to three weeks of the issuance of a
diplomatic note. The CDA emphasized the USG's expectation
that the GOJ will not refuse the extradition request on a
technicality that had not been cited in similar extradition
requests.  CDA also noted that the extradition request on an
earlier indictment for Mark Clark had not been acted upon.
He expressed his hope that inaction would not be the norm for
extradition requests.

 

Ken Baugh, Minister of Foreign Affairs repeats the message in September 9, 2009:

Sample:

Nevertheless, Baugh assured EmbOff,
the GoJ would "meet its obligations under the Extradition
Treaty," although "due process" would have to be followed.
(Comment:  Baugh did not offer a specific timeframe.  His
concerns of possible civil unrest did not strike EmbOff as a
mere pretext for GoJ delay in arresting Coke; on the
contrary, his fears are well-founded.  End Comment.)
PARNELL

 

Ken Baugh, Ronald Robinson and Evadne Coye  hem and haw over the extradition with Parnell in a busy September 2009:

Sample:

7.(C) ChargC) then noted that a failure to extradite Coke would
represent "a serious step backward."  One of the reasons for
security concerns in Jamaica's "garrison" communities was precisely
because Coke and others were importing firearms and trafficking
drugs.  ChargC) asked whether the GoJ took the position that
extradition treaty provisions only applied to lesser criminals;
Baugh replied that anyone found guilty should be dealt with
according to law, and then noted that the "technical aspects" of
the Extradition Treaty must be decided by the Solicitor General and
Ministry of Justice, bearing in mind the GoJ's duty to ensure that
the rights of individual citizens were protected.  ChargC) then
pointed out that several years ago the Jamaican courts had ruled
that there was no requirement that extradition requests name
witnesses.  Baugh said he would be surprised if the Solicitor
General and Ministry of Justice were unfamiliar with the court's
previous rulings vis-C -vis extradition requests.  Baugh then raised
concerns over a recent lawsuit by a Jamaican who had been
extradited to the USA, filed on the grounds that extradition
procedures had not been followed properly.  ChargC) noted that a
number of extradition requests in which witnesses had not been 

named had been successfully processed by the GoJ; the U.S. was
disappointed that the GoJ had not moved more expeditiously and
positively in the Coke case, but would continue to look for ways to
move forward.

 

This is the cable filled with the most fun facts as the Embassy details Peter Phillips and Bruce Golding’s stand-off in Parliament in December 2009 (see if you can count how many lies Bruce told to the Manatt-Dudus Enquiry based on this cable alone….):

Sample:

According to Phillips's sources, the
Golding administration has been quietly reaching out to friends in
the U.S. Congress and the administration through backchannels to
try to circumvent the Departments of State and Justice and to make
their case to the White House.  Phillips also told Emboff that many
key JLP stalwarts - Minister of Finance Audley Shaw, Minister of
Education Andrew Holness, Minister of Housing Horace Chang, and
Minister of Foreign Affairs Kenneth Baugh among them - have
expressed to him their dissatisfaction with the Golding
administration's handling of the Coke extradition request, but that
they're unlikely to break with Golding over the issue, nor would he
expect any JLP MPs to cross the aisle over the issue

The US Embassy thinks things are looking up for Bruce and the JLP in January 2010:
Sample:

7. (SBU) Having spent most of 2009 lambasted by critics as
ineffective and indecisive, PM Golding and the GOJ now find
themselves in an unfamiliar position - riding a wave of policy
successes.  Meanwhile, the tragedy of the Haitian earthquake has
offered the PM a rare opportunity to rise above the bitterness and
rancor of party politics and to present himself as a regional
statesman and humanitarian, shepherding CARICOM's relief efforts
and working closely with the Secretary and the USG.  Nevertheless,
it remains to be seen whether the GOJ will take advantage of these
policy achievements to finally impose order on the nation's fiscal
 affairs, draw down its crushing debt burden in order to free up
resources for private investment, and rekindle economic growth.
Perhaps more troubling is the GOJ's recent recalcitrance in
granting U.S. extradition requests, suggesting a lack of
seriousness in addressing Jamaica's crime problems, or even the
possibility that garrison dons and criminal elements have
"captured" the GOJ.

 

Those 2004 MOU’s get a mention as Bruce makes more excuses to delay the extradition in February 2010:

Sample:

4.      (C)  Post requests that Department move forward with
diplomatic note addressing the GOJ's concerns regarding use of
wiretap information using talking points outlined in
McDonough/Parnell e-mail of February 3.  Charge has raised the
matter of disclosure of the 2004 MOU between UK/GOJ/DEA with UK
High Commissioner, and expects to get UK's views of MOU disclosure
on February 10.
Parnell

 

N.B. We know that there are other cables (lest we forget Lorna and the salad or Mayor McKenzie worrying about the “vacuum”¬†) but it is not clear if we will ever get all of them “onetime”….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Manatt Dudus Enquiry: Who the cap fit, mek dem wear it…….

 

Prime Minister Bruce Golding answering K.D. Knight

Well, it’s more or less all over. K.D. Knight ended his cross-examination of Prime Minister Golding with his now familiar summing up: his suggestions getting more and more outrageous, his voice rising, his furious glare becoming more and more fixed on the witness.

Here’s the already-famous clip of K.D. accusing the Prime Minister of being “pathologically mendacious” (via Afflicted Yard).

 

As befitting the Prime Minister’s role in “sanctioning” the hiring of the U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips and thereby triggering the whole debacle, K.D. Knight finished by suggesting that the Prime Minister “should pack your bags and go!”

The day after the “showdown” K.D. Knight and the Prime Minister were back to being old friends and joking around. When Dodo’s lawyer, Dr. Adolph Edwards, was fixing up his client by showing the Prime Minster various documents supporting Dodo’s testimony and asking him if he was “aware of” them, K.D. kept intervening to urge the Prime Minister not to answer such boring questions……. Later, he intervened on the pretext that¬†the witness “was under intense pressure”….

The Prime Minister laughed heartily, obviously needing the comic relief because:

A little earlier in the proceedings, Patrick Atkinson had drawn blood. He reminded the Prime Minister that the previous day he had told the Enquiry that he received a visit from the U.S. Ambassador Brenda LaGrange-Johnson on the afternoon of 29th October 2007, and during that visit she told him that a Grand Jury in New York had indited Christopher Coke.

The Prime Minister took the bait and confirmed the date and the conversation. Then Patrick Atkinson produced a statement by Dodo where she talks about listening to a tape made by one of the co-operating witnesses cited in the extradition request. On the tape the witness says he received a phone call from Christopher Coke on the evening of 29th October 2007 and Coke said someone had advised him that he had been indited in the United States……..Atkinson asked the Prime Minister if he had any comment on this coincidence…….Not surprisingly, he didn’t.

This was a bombshell and one understands why Hugh Small decided not to re-examine his client at the end of the afternoon and the end of his testimony. Nothing could dress that wound.

And pursuing the matter would only open a whole new can of worms……For example, why did Christopher Coke sit down in Jamaica for two years after his inditement in the U.S. and wait for the extradition request to arrive ? Was it because he had every assurance from the Prime Minister that the request would never be granted ????

It’s all over now

So, apart from the Commission sitting one more day (next Friday April 8, 2011) for housekeeping matters, and the actual submission of the report by the Commissioners (yawn), the Manatt Dudus Commission of Enquiry has come to an end.

Local advertisers are already capitalizing on the Enquiry’s popularity by using legal rhetoric to sell banana chips. And, with any luck, someone should already be at work making a documentary from all that great JIS footage.

Here’s my list of losers at the Manatt Dudus Commission of Enquiry:

Wrong and strong

Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Dorothy “Dodo” Lightbourne insisted on blaming all her subordinates (from her secretary to the Solicitor-General) for everything that had gone wrong with the handling of the extradition request.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding insisted on his integrity, truthfulness and concern for constitutional rights each time he was presented with evidence of his lies, evasions, prevarications and devotion to taking whatever was the most expedient course at the time.

Most pathetic

Lackston Robinson, the Deputy Solicitor-General, who, despite being at the heart of the conspiracy, was not even granted the dignity of being a co-conspirator.

Most boringly self-righteous

Peter Phillips, former PNP Minister of National Security, seemed to lack both a sense of humour and a sense of proportion. To hear him rage on the witness stand, one would never guess that he had spent the last 25 years fully immersed, and fully participating in, the muck and corruption of Jamaican politics.

Least imaginative liar


Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Dorothy “Dodo” Lightbourne was easily the worst liar of the many that appeared as witnesses. As her lies were exposed and contradicted by her own testimony and the testimony of others, she was unable to come up with anything new. By the end, it was pure tedium listening to her deny having read the legal opinions written on her behalf, deny having known of Dudus’ association with the JLP, deny not understanding any of the laws she was supposed to be administering…..

Worst defense of a lousy client

Dr. Lloyd Barnett and Dr. Adolph Edwards for Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Dorothy “Dodo” Lightbourne. Yes, the lady was hardheaded, ignorant, impossible and I’m sure she never listened to you, but still, guys: lousy defense

And here are the winners:-

 

Best defense of a lousy client

 

Oliver Smith defending Solicitor-General Douglas Leys. Talk about a hard worker and inventive lawyer. Oliver Smith grabbed the spotlight with the email from Dodo to Harold Brady and Douglas Leys, and provoked Frank Phipps into ordering a raid on his client’s offices.

Most enriched

Commissioners Anthony Irons, Emil George and Donald Scharschmidt will be receiving US$350 per hour for the approximately 4 months that the Enquiry has taken (including the preparation of their report due by May 2011). Nice work if you can get it….

Best deportment

Commissioner Anthony Irons. The only one of the 3 Commissioners who was not a lawyer, Commissioner Anthony Irons never opened his mouth for the entire proceedings. He also displayed zero interest in any of the testimony, while manfully remaining awake the entire time.

 

Legend in his own lifetime

K.D. Knight. Respect due. Will spend the rest of his life trying to hide from his hordes of female admirers.

 

 

 

Next ?

 

Some persons (I am not among them) will be eagerly awaiting the report of the Commissioners. With heavy heart, but with keen anticipation, I await :-

(1) The response of the U.S. Embassy to all the Prime Minister’s rhetoric about the behaviour of the Charge d’ Affaires Isiah Parnell and the amending of the Extradition Treaty

(2) The trial of Christopher “Dudus” Coke in New York

(3) More Ministers of the current JLP Government seeking to outdo and wildly surpass the corruption of the last PNP Government

And, just because it has all been so much fun, here’s:-

Video of Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson failing to recall…….

 

(via Infamous Reddz)

and Entertainment Report’s classic take on the early days of the Enquiry

( via Infamous Reddz)

 

The Manatt Dudus Enquiry: Tell us another one, Prime Minister

To date, the Enquiry has been fascinating and compelling TV. It has shown us the nuts and bolts of the extradition process and exposed some of the workings of the Government.

The lawyers and witnesses have uncovered, or tried to keep covered, various matters of importance (principally, who did what when……). That has been compelling viewing too.

Commissioners Anthony Irons, Emil George and Donald Scharschmidt arriving at the Enquiry

The worst moments so far have all involved politicians placing the blame on public servants/civil service employees. This week began in the same vein.

The first witness was Marcia Beverly, a Consultant/Advisor in the Ministry of Justice, who was responsible for the physical receipt and documenting of the extradition request. She confirmed that everything was done as usual by Deputy DPP Jeremy Taylor (the poor relatively junior lawyer who Dodo says is responsible for the “whole debacle”).

Later on in the week the “missing” log book turned up and Lord Gifford was able to show that Jeremy Taylor had given an accurate account of what happened on the day the extradition request was received i.e. everybody except Dodo did their routine tasks routinely…..

Next up was Verna McGaw, one of Dodo’s former secretaries (K.D. Knight put in evidence that Dodo has had more than 20 secretaries since taking office in 2007…..). She testified that Dodo had sent an email to Solicitor-General Douglas Leys and Harold Brady about the extradition request on September 16, 2009. This was the bombshell (or rather, hand grenade) that scattered the remaining splinters of Dodo’s credibility. Dodo’s own testimony had already done the permanent damage to public perception of her intelligence, abilities and her character.

Then Dr. Adolph Edwards, Dodo’s lawyer along with Dr. Lloyd Barnett, had the thankless task of trying to show that McGaw was not a credible witness.

Having done with the ladies, we waited for the main course, the pork and yam of the Commission of Enquiry being the cross-examination of the Prime Minister himself. He it was who hired Manatt, he it was who set up the Enquiry.

As K.D. Knight began his cross-examination it became clear that the Enquiry had fully descended into the realm of Jamaican party politics. The Prime Minister came there to lie and defend his activities on behalf of Christopher “Dudus” Coke and the JLP.

Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding

Hugh Small, the Prime Minister’s lawyer, was there to make sure that any attempt to expose the lies of the Prime Minister would be met with cries (or whines) of disrespect. K.D. Knight, the lawyer for the PNP, was there to remind us that the Prime Minister was lying about the whole Dudus extradition matter and the hiring of the U.S. law firm, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

Turns out we didn’t need reminding because¬†the Prime Minster came to the Enquiry to assert the following impossible-to-choke-down-lies:

He did NOT hire, on September 6, 2009 (16 days after the request for extradition had been received)¬†the U.S. law firm, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to lobby the U.S. Government to delay (or prevent) the extradition of his West Kingston constituent, Christopher “Dudus” Coke. More likely ? He DID hire MPP to ensure that Christopher “Dudus” Coke would still be around to deliver votes for the JLP in the 2012 election (or that Christopher “Dudus” Coke had time to leave the island for Venezuela or other unextraditable points south)

Manatt was hired because (16 days after the request for extradition had been received)¬†the Prime Minister already knew that Coke’s constitutional rights had been violated and was determined to start high level negotiations to prevent the violation of Coke’s constitutional rights. More probable ? He knew that thwarting the combined efforts of the Jamaican security forces and the U.S. DEA would require money and high level contacts

Manatt was hired because (16 days after the request for extradition had been received) the Prime Minister had already been advised by “two foreign diplomats” that there was no point in trying to deal with the U.S. Embassy in Kingston. More likely? The U.S. charge d’affaires Isaiah Parnell had already made it clear to Dodo that the U.S. wasn’t going to listen to any crap

Nobody in the Jamaican justice system (Lightbourne, Leys) who was handling the extradition request was privy to the Prime Minister’s efforts to use Manatt to protect Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s constitutional rights. More likely ? The Prime Minister, Dodo and Harold Brady cooked up the whole fiasco circa August 2009 as soon as they knew for sure about the extradition request

In any case, the testimony of Dodo, Douglas Leys, and various civil servants, have already confirmed what most Jamaicans already suspected:-

As conspiracies go, this one was large, employed all sorts of numbskulls (Brady, Robinson, Lightbourne, Leys et al) and was spectacularly unsuccessful (73 dead plus Mr. Coke extraditing himself…).

To my mind, the only fig leaf left to cover the Prime Minister’s incompetence and denial in the Dudus’ affair is that his predecessor as leader of the JLP, Edward Seaga, had great success in the 1980’s in protecting Christopher Coke’s father, Lester Lloyd Coke aka Jim Brown, from the wrath of the U.S. authorities. Mr. Coke Sr. bounced around between Jamaica and the U.S. with the apparent full knowledge of both the U.S. and Jamaican governments. One minute he was in jail in the U.S., the next minute he was in Kingston being released by the Jamaican Supreme Court into the arms of gun saluting supporters.

So, possibly, Bruce Golding thought that the same could be done for his son. As Ian Boyne pointed out, perhaps the Prime Minister “doesn’t recall” that the Soviet Union collapsed more than 20 years ago and “the war on drugs” and “the war on terror” have long since replaced anti-Communism as the main planks of U.S. foreign policy.

Jamaica is of zero strategic importance today – Castro’s Cuba notwithstanding – and only of concern inasmuch as it is a transhipment point for drugs into the United States. Even cunning old Eddie Seaga would get short shrift from the U.S. authorities nowadays.

Poor old K.D. Knight, poor old Hugh Small

K.D. Knight representing the PNP

For the past couple of weeks K.D. Knight has looked worn and weary, as first Dodo, and now¬†the Prime Minister have tried his temper and his patience. For his part,¬†Hugh Small has become progressively more whiny and fixated on “the people watching this Enquiry all over the world”…… Both gentlemen are showing their age (70+).

Hugh Small representing the Prime Minister

Only Frank Phipps, who was as old as the hills when he came to the Enquiry, is not much the worse for wear after weeks of testimony and cross-examination.

Frank Phipps representing the JLP

With the Prime Minister on the witness stand, much of the interest has gone out of the proceedings. Hugh Small has successfully prevented K.D. Knight from tripping up the Prime Minister, but it is not as if the Prime Minister is going to say anything new. When he contradicts himself or Dodo he just, like Dodo, continues to assert his truthfulness and love of Christopher Coke’s constitutional rights. Truth and facts be damned, disregarded, dissed, skated over…

Naturally, the Prime Minister is a much better liar than Dodo and the bigger the lie, the more angrily he defends it.

From time to time, the Prime Minister attempts to joust with K.D. by scoring points or making smart replies. This sometimes works and the JLP supporters in the room reward him with laughter, but most times the PM’s timing is off and his jokes fly right over the heads of his supporters, hit the wall and fall flat on the floor…..

Poor old Jamaica

Well, this Enquiry is almost over. It has introduced most of us to the workings of a small part of the government and our judicial system. It has delighted us with the skills of K.D. Knight, John Vassall, Lord Gifford, Frank Phipps and the other distinguished lawyers. It has reminded us (if we needed it) of the high quality of many of our public servants (hats off to the DPP’s office, the JDF and JCF) and of the dismal quality of many of our politicians (take a bow Bruce, Dodo, Dwight, Ronald).

If only we could look forward to flinging these rascals out at the next election….If only we didn’t have Bobby Pickersgill, A.J. Nicholson and Omar Davies sitting behind K.D. Knight day after day to remind us that they, the in-power-far-too-long-PNP, are our only alternative……

Grand finale next week: More from the Prime Minister on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

FYI:

Terms of Reference for the Enquiry

The Governor-General has today been advised to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to enquire into and report on the issues relating to the extradition request for Christopher Coke by the Government of the United States of America, the manner and procedure in which the said extradition request was handled by the Government of Jamaica, the circumstances in which the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips was retained and its role in relation to the said extradition request and the role and conduct of various public officials and private persons and organizations in relation to any or all of the aforesaid matters.

The specific Terms of Reference of the Commission are:

To enquire into:

The issues relating to the extradition request for Christopher Coke by the Government of the United States of America;

The manner and procedure in which the said extradition request was handled by the Government of Jamaica and the role and conduct of the various public officials who handled the extradition request;

The circumstances in which the services of the law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips were engaged in relation to any or all of the matters involved, by whom were they engaged and on whose behalf they were authorized to act;

Whether there was any misconduct on the part of any person in any of these matters and, if so, to make recommendations as the Commission sees fit for the referral of such persons to the relevant authority or disciplinary body for appropriate action.

The Commissioner shall make a full and faithful report and recommendations concerning the aforesaid matters and transmit the same to the Governor-General on or before February 28, 2011.

The Commission shall be comprised of:

Hon. Emil George Q.C., O.J. (Chairman) (Attorney-at-Law)

Hon. Anthony Irons O.J. (Retired Permanent Secretary)

Mr. Donald Scharschmidt Q.C (Attorney-at-Law)

The Manatt Dudus Enquiry: Insults ! Bombshells! Dirty tricks!

As the Prime Minister begins to testify and the end of the Enquiry looms, we can start to consider what the whole spectacle has contributed to Jamaica apart from a couple of months of must-see-TV.

Well, so far the Enquiry has contibuted new insults and fun phrases to the Jamaican lexicon.

Patrick Atkinson, addressing Hugh Small :

Go and buy a tie ! Twit !

Dodo and Dr. Adolph Edwards to Patrick Atkinson:

Mr. Coke extradited himself.

K.D. Knight to witnesses, the Commissioners and fellow counsel on innumerable occasions:

No! No! No!

K.D . Knight to Dodo:

When would reason have so fled from me……

Dorothy Lightbourne, repeatedly, to all lawyers cross-examining her:

That is so.

That is not correct.

There was a snowstorm coming.

Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson repeatedly to K.D. Knight:

I can’t recall.

I don’t recall.

All the lawyers to all the witnesses:

Isn’t it true…..?

I suggest to you….

I’m sure there’s more.

More Miss Lightbourne

The cross-examination of Dorothy “Dodo” Lightbourne, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General continued this week. It was excruciating to watch. When K.D. Knight finished his cross-examination, Patrick Atkinson (representing Peter Phillips) started work. When he was done, Oliver Smith (representing Solicitor-General Douglas Leys) began. When he was done, it was time for the JDF ‘s attorney Linton Gordon to begin.

By this time Dodo was insisting that she had (1) never done anything wrong ever, (2) took no responsibility for anything ever, and (3) when pressed, was doubling down on blaming any and every one who ever had the misfortune to work for her.

After a brief intermission where John Vassall, representing Dwight Nelson, fixed Dodo up for a couple of hours with lots of nice questions allowing her to reiterate her “legal arguments” without contradiction, it was time for Lord Gifford to cross-examine Dodo.

 

Lord Gifford representing the Office of the DPP

Lord Gifford’s cross-examination was much praised the next day for its apparent contrast with the more aggressive questioning of K.D. Knight and Patrick Atkinson. However, Dodo managed to frustrate him just as she had frustrated everyone else.

Far from getting her to withdraw her allegations that his client Jeremy Taylor, Deputy DPP, had given bad advice to the U.S. and was responsible for the whole debacle (the deaths of 73 people in Tivoli), Lord Gifford only made her more vehement and more determined not to take any blame whatsoever.

He ended by being as rude to her as an English gentleman could manage. Sample lines:

Minister, does your knowledge of criminal law extend to….? (Translation: You ignorant fool! K.D. was right to say that you completely misunderstand the law!)

Minister, try to concentrate on what I’m asking…(Translation: Answer the question, you incredibly stupid woman!)

Well, Dodo’s testimony was finally over and we were able to contemplate the last-minute bombshells detonated by Oliver Smith and Hugh Small:-

The Sept 16, 2009  email from Dodo to Douglas Leys and Harold Brady

Although it seemed impossible that any more holes could be blasted in Dodo’s testimony by the cold hard facts, Oliver Smith produced an email which indicated that Dodo was briefing Harold Brady, the JLP’s acknowledged point man on the extradition, 3 weeks after the request was first received. Boom !!!! Only totally contrary to all her previous testimony re Brady……

Oliver Smith

The letter from Manatt to Dodo

K.D.Knight had asked for the letter that Dodo had written to Manatt (telling them they had been employed by the JLP) and Manatt’s reply. However no one questioned her on them, and Oliver Smith asked that the reply from Manatt not be read out as he had not had a chance to cross-examine Dodo or his client about it.Too bad for him and his client that on Friday morning Hugh Small read out the reply from Manatt anyway.

The reply, which reiterated that they had been employed by the Government of Jamaica, mentioned that they, Manatt, had been in email correspondence with Solicitor-General Douglas Leys since September 2009….Boom!!!…Big hole in Douglas Leys credibility right there. He had testified that he didn’t know that Harold Brady was involved, or that Manatt had been hired, until December 2009….Before he might have seemed a dupe and a patsy…..now looking more like a co-conspirator……

And now we come to:

Dirty tricks and bad mind (Frank Phipps section)

Frank Phipps has spent a lifetime in the criminal justice system in Jamaica and he has a first class knowledge of how witnesses can be intimidated.

Early on in the proceedings he attacked Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin by exposing his wife.

This week he showed us that that was not so much a slip-up as a Mode of Operating (MO).

After Oliver Smith had produced his bombshell email, everyone (K.D. Knight, Patrick Atkinson, Oliver Smith, Lord Gifford) asked the Commissioners to call the secretary who had sent the email to testify at the Enquiry. Moments after the Commissioners had agreed to do this, Frank Phipps said that the poor lady ought to lose her current job.

While we can understand why Frank Phipps, as the lawyer for the JLP, wants to discourage witnesses from giving evidence against his clients (in this case, prominent JLP member Dorothy Lightbourne) his objection was unlikely to have any effect on the Commissioners who already knew who the secretary was, and that she was employed to them.

It seems that the outburst had only one purpose : to intimidate not only the secretary, but also anyone else who might be thinking of providing evidence to the Enquiry.

This little incident was just the appetizer for the afternoon. Oliver Smith came back after lunch to say that his client, Solicitor-General Douglas Leys, was prepared to make his computer and his email account available to the Commissioners so that the authenticity of the email could be verified. Well, who told him to say that ???!!!

Frank Phipps and Dodo got to work and, minutes later, 5 officers from the Cyber unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force were at Douglas Leys’ New Kingston office trying to seize his computer. The police subsequently apologised and there is to be an¬†investigation.

Oh, wait ! Same afternoon we also had the¬†“manila envelope” scare happening between the news that the secretary would be testifying and the police going to the Solicitor-General’s office.

Yeah, so not surprising the first day of the¬†Prime Minister’s testimony seemed sort of boring after the day before. Hugh Small led the Prime Minister through his testimony as if they were playing hopscotch. Not sure why Small wanted to jump from one thing to another as he did, but I guess all will become clear.

The press were so desperate that they had to make news out of the Prime Minister and K.D. Knight having a friendly chat during “elevenses”. As I recall, the Prime Minister and Karl Samuda were the only members of the JLP¬†to attend the funeral of K.D. Knight’s son in 2007 shortly after the JLP had taken office.

At the time, there was no reason to think that K.D. Knight would ever again play a prominent role in Jamaican politics. He had declined to run again in the 2007 General Election, and was returning to his law practice. So when the PM and Samuda took time to go to the funeral, you can know that was a sign of genuine affection and respect for K.D.. Expect it to be reciprocated.

Next week: Mrs. Beverly (Ministry of Justice) and Verna McGaw (former secretary to Dodo), followed by more from the Prime Minister

 

 

The Manatt Dudus Enquiry: Just not cricket

Dorothy Lightbourne backed up by JLP Senator Hyacinth Bennett and Minister Babsy Grange

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dorothy “Dodo” Lightbourne has been the sole witness testifying this week. She horrified cricket fans around the world by her stubborn refusal to play the game.

Not only did she refuse to even try to bat, she behaved as if she knew nothing at all about how the game is played……

Here follows the list of her transgressions:-

(1) Dodo attacked people who were, and are, her subordinates, and who were, and are, public servants (i.e. hold positions in the civil service, as opposed to being political appointees like Dodo).

She insisted that Lisa Palmer-Hamilton, the Deputy DPP, had a faulty memory and was likely wrong about everything concerning her first “Dudus” phone call to Dodo. This was particularly mean spirited as it was obvious that Lisa Palmer-Hamilton was playing the game during her testimony, and allowing her Minister every possible out by repeatedly saying that “memories can be faulty”. It was left to K.D. Knight to explain to Dodo that Ms. Palmer-Hamilton was protecting her, Dodo, when she refused to insist on her own and Lt. Col. Cole’s testimony¬† being correct…..

She blamed her Solicitor-General Douglas Leys for not telling her about Manatt AND insisted that he had testified in support of her statement. Douglas Leys’ lawyer, Oliver Smith, had to point out to her that his client had, in fact, contradicted her testimony.

She said that Jeremy Taylor, Deputy DPP (in charge of extradition matters) had incorrectly advised the U.S. government as to the best procedure to use to extradite Dudus AND had then acted inappropriately by expediting the processing of the extradition request. Lord Gifford representing the DPP’s office could not conceal his distress at this attack on his client. He must have regretted counseling his clients (Taylor and Palmer-Hamilton) to embarrass the Minister as little as possible…..

Tip for playing the game, Dodo:

When you’re the captain, it is your job to lead the team, NOT to single out team members for blame while boasting about how you personally did nothing wrong…..Where criticism cannot be avoided, it is proper to maintain that the team member was a. doing their best regardless b. will certainly do better next time.

(2) Dodo stubbornly insisted on refusing to answer questions

Dodo ignoring K.D.

K.D. Knight took the approach of laboriously going through every step taken by Dodo in handling (or rather not-handling) the extradition request. His effort was obviously aimed at showing that Dodo¬†was simply taking orders,¬†didn’t know the law, and had no intention of allowing Dudus to be extradited.

Dodo aided him in this effort every inch of the way. When she wasn’t blaming her subordinates, she was insisting that she had sought and relied on their advice. When K.D. tried to ascertain when, if ever, she had used her own understanding, she lowered her voice, appealed to the Commissioners and insisted he was being rude. Although she could not explain herself, she kept insisting that she did too know the law….

Tip for playing the game, Dodo:

We can’t all be Brian Lara, but we can all attempt to use the bat. Please note that your fellow Senator, Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson, successfully preserved his wicket by continually saying “I can’t recall”. While he may not have scored any runs, he avoided being called “Out”. This is all that is being asked of you, Dodo.

(3) Dodo spitefully brought up something that happened 30 years ago and embarrassed both her supporters and her coaches

K.D. Knight is good at getting witnesses upset. This is why he is a good lawyer and good at cross-examination. His efforts to mock Dodo’s brains, knowledge and abilities succeeded when Dodo, with an air of triumph, made a personal attack on ¬†K.D. and ¬†told him she had resented him for more than 30 years for saying, circa 1980, “All Labourite fi dead”. Oh dear. Dodo then had to be sent back to the pavilion, not once, but twice, while someone tried to get her to play the rules.

Tip for playing the game, Dodo:

Sledging is a part of the modern game. It is designed to upset you so that it is easier to get you out. I’m sure you’ll recall how John Vassall made Peter Phillips splutter with rage when he was being cross-examined. By overreacting to K.D., attacking him personally, and forcing the umpires to stop play, you did not help your team. By ignoring the advice of your coaches – Dr Lloyd Barnett, Dr. Adolph Edwards, Frank Phipps et al – you embarrassed them and made yourself look spiteful and small-minded.

K.D Knight outside the Enquiry room

After reiterating your “I hate K.D. Knight” position at the Enquiry on Thursday afternoon, you then withdrew your comment on Friday morning, presumably at the request of the Prime Minister….This episode told us a lot more than we needed to know about you, and likely told us all we need to know about your role in the Manatt Dudus affair.

Next week, let’s hope you can recognize the sledging for what it is, and focus on your own game.

So, Dodo, the World Cup is on and I hope you are able to catch a few of the matches over the weekend.

No one is expecting you to be able to lie bare-faced like your Cabinet colleagues, Daryl Vaz and Bruce Golding. However, it would be nice if you brushed up on a few of the rules of the game. Remember, you are batting not only for yourself but for your team, the JLP.

Do not embarrass them by making it look like you should never have been selected.

And please remember that as rude and out-of-order as the PNP’s captain K.D. Knight may seem, he is only playing the game.

The Manatt Dudus Enquiry: In the dark and out of the loop….

The Commission of Enquiry continues, but even K.D. Knight could not provide much to laugh about this week. It was mostly sort of dull and devious, without even a hint of the spirit of Fling The Bottle.

Giving testimony this week Feb 28 to Mar 3, 2011 :-

Lackston Robinson, the Deputy Solicitor-General

 

If Solicitor-General Douglas Leys was a sad, bewildered witness, consider the unfortunate history of Mr. Robinson. He filed suit against the Government in 2002, after the PNP Solicitor-General Michael Hylton refused to allow him to act as his deputy on the grounds that Mr. Robinson was “not fit for the job“. This odious assessment of Mr. Robinson was backed up the Chairman of the Public Services Commission (PSC), Daisy Coke, who said he was “inappropriate for the post”.

The legal battle between Mr. Robinson and his employers dragged on for years, and was only settled in August 2007 when the Supreme Court ruled that the PSC had breached the rules of natural justice when it retired Mr. Robinson “in the public interest”. The Supreme Court ordered that he be reinstated and paid damages for loss of¬† salary and benefits. However,¬† by December 2007, the PSC still had NOT reinstated Mr. Robinson and was trying to transfer him out of the Attorney-General’s offices.

But all was not lost for Lackston Robinson. The new Prime Minister Bruce Golding rode to the rescue, fired the Public Services Commission, made sure that Mr. Robinson became Deputy Solicitor General, and appointed Lackston Robinson’s old pal, Douglas Leys, as his boss and Solicitor-General.

Great, right ? Justice is finally served ! Yeah, right. Michael Hylton, Daisy Coke and the PNP government are long gone, but it turns out Lackston Robinson’s friends are just as bad as his enemies.

Lackston Robinson represented by R.N.A. Henriques came to the Commission to give evidence that:

  1. The extradition request for Dudus Coke submitted in August 2009 was flawed because the evidence was illegally obtained and therefore Dudus’ rights were breached when he was extradited. Robinson still doesn’t know why, and has never been told, on what basis the Minister of Justice signed the extradition order.
  2. He, Lackston Robinson, was never shown the MOU’s in full and was only shown one paragraph of one MOU by his boss, Douglas Leys.
  3. He didn’t know anything about the hiring of Manatt in September or December 2009 and he never, in fact, saw any of the emails between Douglas Leys, Harold Brady and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips even though Douglas Leys claimed to have copied him on the emails.

Lackston Robinson was kept in the dark and out of the loop by his bosses (Leys, Lightbourne). End of his testimony and end of his sad story….. But perhaps he can take comfort in the fact that Douglas Leys and Dorothy Lightbourne were themselves being kept in the dark and out of the loop by the Prime Minister himself.

For example, Douglas Leys was busy considering hiring Manatt in December 2009 when Manatt had already been retained and paid by Harold Brady, Bruce Golding and Daryl Vaz back in September 2009. And Dorothy Lightbourne spent nine months making public legal pronouncements about Dudus’ constitutional rights and how she would not sign the extradition order, only to have the PM announce on national television that he “had told her to sign the extradition order” and she signed it….

Friendly banter with Karl Samuda


Next up was Minister Karl Samuda, former General Secretary of the JLP. Karl Samuda is the very definition of a good old boy and his presence caused K.D. Knight and Patrick Atkinson to revert to being good old boys themselves.

After a small show of antagonism early on, the questions and answers proceeded very much as if being conducted over a few drinks and among old friends. As part of the all-lads-together good fellowship, Samuda became the first of his JLP colleagues to admit to knowing Dudus. He also jokingly encouraged Patrick Bailey, the lawyer for Ronald Robinson, to see if the JLP would pay his fees.

Commissioner Emil George repeatedly said he could not hear what was going on between Minister Samuda and the lawyers cross-examining him, only to be told that it was just some friendly banter……

Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Cole : I did not speak to that woman

For some reason, Lieutenant Colonel Cole, the legal officer for the JDF, was recalled to give evidence again. He gave the same evidence as before and with the same calm politeness. Love that JDF discipline! It is one of the many pieces of conflicting evidence at the Enquiry. The Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Lisa Palmer-Hamilton, and Lt. Col. Cole, agree that he never spoke to the Minister of Justice and A.G. Dorothy Lightbourne on August 25, 2009 (the day the extradition request for Dudus was received) but Dorothy Lightbourne is insisting that this conversation took place…It’s still not clear (to me, anyway) why this is is such an important piece of evidence…

The lady-in-chief, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Dorothy Lightbourne

This witness has only given evidence for one day so far. It was a very long day as her lawyer, Dr. Lloyd Barnett, led her through her testimony. So only a few observations:

There’s a reason why she’s known as Dodo….she is clearly somewhat slow for the lawyer who acts as chief law officer for the Government of Jamaica, especially a government filled with so-sharp-they-might-cut-themselves chaps like Daryl Vaz and James Robertson…..

In addition to being a little dim, she thinks it shows her in a good light to claim that she¬† had to constantly remind her staff about “proper behaviour and proper procedure“. According to her, from Day One of the Dudus saga, she was admonishing Lt. Col. Cole, Solicitor-General Douglas Leys and numerous other functionaries on how to behave and how to do their jobs. In short, she was the nagging-nitpicking-boss-from-hell …..no wonder everyone kept her in the dark and out of the loop.

Everyone but Dodo understood that the Coke extradition had to be handled carefully and quickly. The JDF, the JCF and the DPP’s office were ready to arrest him the same day the extradition request arrived, while, for his part, the Prime Minister showed zero inclination to rely on the legal skills of Dodo and Douglas, and hired Manatt less than 2 weeks later.

Next week: More Lady-in-Chief…

 

The Manatt Dudus Enquiry: National Security week, or how the MOU’s were lost and found

The Enquiry is proving what many have been saying for years : Jamaica needs a new cast of characters.

Consider the following line-up of long-in-tooth politicos :

For the past two weeks Peter Phillips, former PNP Minister of National Security (Predecessor: K.D. Knight-PNP  Successors Derrick Smith -JLP, Colonel Trevor McMillan-JLP, Dwight Nelson-JLP) and Dwight Nelson, current JLP Minister of National Security (Predecessors:Colonel Trevor McMillan-JLP, Derrick Smith -JLP, Peter Phillips-PNP) have been questioned and cross-examined by PNP Senator K.D. Knight (former PNP Minister of National Security 1989-2001, Phillips supporter in PNP leadership election of 2006) and Hugh Small, former PNP Minister of Finance (Predecessor: P.J Patterson-PNP   Successor: Omar Davies-PNP, supporter of Portia Simpson in PNP leadership election of 1992) and Frank Phipps (former JLP Senator), among others.

Small versus Phillips : Grudge match

Former Minister of National Security for the PNP, Peter Phillips

 

For all you youngsters out there, there is a reason why Hugh Small was alternately patronizing and spitting poison during his not-very-effective cross examination of Peter Phillips. Way back in 1992, Peter Phillips was General Secretary of the PNP. When Michael Manley retired, it was Peter Phillips who presided over the internal leadership election between Portia and P.J. Patterson. Desperate to cement his position in the hierarchy of the PNP,¬† Peter Phillips allowed P.J. supporters to stand over the ballot boxes inside the National Arena and ensure that the delegates did not “mistakenly” vote for Portia.

Phillips’ pro-P.J. strategy worked out badly for Hugh Small. Small had become Minister of Finance after P.J. had to resign because of the Shell waiver corruption scandal, and Small supported Portia in the 1992 leadership election. But P.J., not Portia,¬† became the Prime Minister, and Small was forced out of the Finance Ministry and then out of Parliament in 1993. That was the end of Hugh Small’s political career.

Now, perhaps for the first time since 1993, Hugh Small has an opportunity to revenge himself on his former PNP colleague Peter Phillips. Hugh Small is representing Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his task is to ensure that, whoever else might have to resign as a result of the Enquiry, it will not be Orrett Bruce Golding………While he’s at it, he can hope to frustrate, mock, and discredit Peter Phillips for having done a reasonably good job (as it turns out) as Jamaica’s¬† Minister of National Security. No, it’s not business, it’s strictly personal.

Knight/Atkinson/Gordon versus Nelson : Fencing with a stone wall

Dwight Nelson at the Enquiry

 

Just as most of the lawyers and witnesses have intertwined political lives, so are their lives intertwined with the Coke family. This tangled history is obviously why longtime JLP member Dwight Nelson opted for his moderately successful “stonewall” strategy. He claimed everything he and his colleagues did was right until they did exactly the opposite and that was right too.

The Jamaica Observer has a more-or-less-correct history of the Coke family here which explains the groans of disbelief¬† which greeted¬† Dwight Nelson’s insistence that he only knew about Dudus Coke “from the police reports” he received when he became Minister of National Security.

What should probably cause much greater bewilderment is that the JLP lawyers (Phipps, Small, John Vassal for Dwight Nelson) have spent so much time focusing on the MOU’s. They want us to believe that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (not to mention the JCF and JDF) forgot all about the Shower Posse and Jamaican drug gangs after Lester Lloyd Coke died in a Jamaican prison in 1992.

While reminding us of¬† the PNP’s convenient morality, the JLP lawyers also want us to believe that if it were not for Peter Phillips and the secret MOU’s, the U.S. government, the JCF and the JDF would have acquiesced in the continued local and international criminal activities of the Coke family and their cohorts.

And, not only that, but we should also believe that the coming to power in 2007 of Bruce Golding, the new M.P. for the West Kingston garrison, raised no eyebrows in the U.S.; and the U.S. DEA, the JCF and JDF took NO steps to ensure that the incoming JLP administration would not¬† frustrate their efforts to capture and convict JLP supporter Dudus Coke…… We can only hope that Wikileaks will soon provide us with the diplomatic cables that went from AMEMBASSY KINGSTON to the SECSTATE WASHDC circa September 2007……probably very interesting reading.

Yes, we had a good laugh at poor Lorna Golding and her day-old salad, but at least she knew what clock was striking for her husband. Clearly, Bruce, Daryl, Dwight and Dorothy hadn’t a clue. It must have been a happy day for the senior officers of both the JDF and the JCF¬† when they handed over the secret MOU’s in March 2010 and got to watch that cat scattering the JLP pigeons.

Irony of the week: Dwight Nelson who is the first Minister of National Security in decades to preside over a substantial decline in the murder rate is being given not an ounce of credit for this achievement. Wonder why ?

State of play: Soldiers not romping

Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin with his attorney, Lt. Col Linton Gordon

Lieutenant Colonel Linton Gordon representing his JDF colleagues Lt. Col. Cole, Maj. Gen. Saunders and R. Adm. Lewin (Lewin was head of both the JDF and the JCF) introduced a new note into the proceedings on Thursday Feb 24, 2011.

He asked Dwight Nelson if he was prepared to give a commitment to the country to sever links between criminal gangs and the JLP ! Laugh ? I nearly cried.

He then went on to ask Dwight Nelson if he would give a commitment that no more garrisons would be established by the JLP. Poor Dwight !

And to finish, he suggested that Dwight Nelson, and by inference his JLP colleagues, were motivated by fear as they tried to prevent Dudus being extradited. Now there’s something we can all believe in!

So the Jamaica Defence Force has given fair warning to the witnesses to come, notably Prime Minster and Minister of Defence Bruce Golding, and Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne.  The gloves are off!!!

N.B. The Commissioners for the Manatt Dudus Commission of Enquiry have asked for an extension until April 2011. This is obviously to keep us amused until Dudus’ trial begins in New York.

 

The Manatt Dudus Enquiry: Who is who and what is what

The Lawyers

Hugh Small defending the Prime Minster: His beautiful suits are always just slightly the wrong hue (pun intended), ¬†and he disdains playing to the gallery. Super competent but since the Prime Minster has already admitted to hiring Manatt, it seems that Hugh Small’s job is to convince us that it wasn’t such a bad idea after all…..So far in the service of lying about Manatt and Dudus to the Jamaican public, it turns out that¬†Bruce also lied about the roles of the poor saps serving in his government.

K.D. Knight representing, and representing, the PNP: The star of the show, Mr. Knight has flawless taste in suits, ties, and personal grooming, and he regards himself as the principal entertainer at the enquiry. He’s giving us full value for money with careful cross-examinations punctuated by tantrums and confrontations with the Commissioners, safe in the knowledge that his client can only benefit from the piles of smelly laundry being brought out for airing.

Frank Phipps representing the JLP: Frank Phipps is ¬†a curious figure with his oh-so-British references to “Alice in Wonderland” bound to flummox any observers born into post- Independence Jamaica. Unable to compete with K.D. Knight in the fashion stakes, out-Britished by the presence of ¬†Lord Gifford (an actual Brit) and slighted by the P.M. in his choice of legal counsel, Mr. Phipps alternates between bemoaning the lot of the poor citizen (deprived of our constitutional rights apparently) and being just plain nasty to, and about, whomever is giving evidence. His glory days may be behind him, but he’s determined to give as good as he gets. He’s getting plenty from K.D. Knight.

Dr. Lloyd Barnett representing Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dorothy Lightbourne: Careful, fussy, and correct Dr. Barnett serves to remind us of the enormity of what is going down. His client Dorothy Lightbourne, who probably never had an idea in her life, is going to take the fall for the lies and evasions of Prime Minister Golding et al. Well, Dr. Barnett has had a rough time of it so far, what with all the witnesses (Lisa Palmer-Hamilton-DPP’s office, Leys, Lieutenant Colonel Cole-JDF) busy refuting every single thing in the Attorney General’s statement.

The Witnesses


The sad case of Solicitor General Douglas Leys: This gentleman spent most of his time on the stand on the verge of tears. Quite understandable when we consider the struggle in 2007 between the Prime Minister and the Public Services Commission over who would get the Solicitor General’s job. In the end, the Prime Minister fired the Public Services Commission who insisted on the appointment of Stephen Vasciannie, and gave Douglas Leys the job instead. Now, the Enquiry reveals why. The lawyers have taken Douglas Leys apart and shown the competent, but not-too-bright bureaucrat who was easily manipulated by politicians (Golding, Vaz, Lightbourne) ,¬†led by the nose up the Manatt garden path and shoved into the pile of horse manure that was “there’s something wrong with this extradition order”…….

The very worthy Dr. Ronald Robinson: This gentleman deserves our respect. He resigned after being used as a scapegoat and a fall-guy for the Manatt affair. Unlike Douglas Leys, Dr. Robinson had no fear of showing that he’s maybe a bit of a dunce and was certainly way too trusting. The more Hugh Small pressured him about “accounting officers”, and “where did you send your receipts” the more convincingly clueless Dr. Robinson became. Yes, he should have realized what was going on, but, in fact, he just didn’t get it. Seems like he was just pleased and proud to be doing his PM’s bidding and excited to be in D.C. ¬†with the big boys. As a finishing touch to his I’m-just-a-dolt testimony, he actually offered his tourist pics as evidence……

The soldiers, the sailor, the lawyers from the DPP: These witnesses collectively provided the appetizers for the lawyers and the Commissioners in the first weeks of the Enquiry. The soldiers (Saunders and Cole) acquitted themselves like men; the sailor (Hardley Lewin) opposed the whole pack of liars as he has since he resigned as Commissioner of Police in 2009; and the lawyers from the DPP (Taylor, Palmer-Hamilton) were a credit both to their boss, Paula Llewellyn and their lawyer, Lord Gifford.

The very Teflon Daryl Vaz, Minister Without Portfolio: Love him or hate him, Daryl Vaz could win an Oscar any day of the week. ¬†Known for his arrogance, he consistently answered all questions respectfully and with a loud “Yes, sah!”. He came to testify at the Enquiry ¬†without a lawyer, and went on to deny¬† ever having met Mr. Christopher Coke aka Dudus. With the possible exception of his elder and better, Bruce Golding, it is unlikely that this small island has ever produced a more bare-faced liar. Yes, sah! You the best, Daryl Vaz!

Ambassador Evadne Coye, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: If I went to church, this is a lady I would expect to meet there. Responsible, prudent and very proper, call her a bureaucrat, or call her a public servant, Ambassador Coye is the reason why this enquiry will likely damage the JLP for a good 20 years to come. Trying to do her job properly has led to her being harrassed and harried on national TV – not a nice end for anyone’s career.

On the stand this week (Feb 14- 18): The enquirer in chief, Peter Phillips

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Will he stay or will he go ? Bruce Golding lies and apologizes one more time…..

E-lie Golding with friends James Robertson and Daryl Vaz

So the dust has more less settled on the Dudus affair. After Harold Brady revealed in October 2010 that the Prime Minister had asked him to set up the whole deal with Manatt to protect Dudus and prevent his extradition; and that Minister Daryl Vaz handled the money and payments;  the Prime Minister finally caved and announced a Commission of Enquiry .

Traditionally, Commissions of Enquiry take forever and thereby allow guilty parties to relax and exhale, knowing that by the time the Commission reports most people will have forgotten what they were so exercised about at the time (see the enquiry into the 2008 police killings in Tivoli …….)

It is clear that the Manatt/Dudus/Brady Enquiry is going to follow this long established pattern. The Enquiry won’t even start until January 17, 2011 making it almost impossible to finish by the supposed deadline of February 28, 2011…….. In the meantime, we can all refresh our memories by reading some of the pertinent letters and emails (thanks to the Gleaner for archiving these documents!)

What is particularly amusing (or annoying) about this Commission of Enquiry is that we are not supposed to need it. The Prime Minister has assured us on several occasions that he has already made a full confession. And if he knows he hasn’t yet told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then why doesn’t he just have another press conference, tell us how it really went, and save everybody a lot of time and money ? Most likely, the only thing we don’t know is who paid the bill for the law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips . And the PM has already told us that he’s NOT telling us……….

Bruce sits on a vendor

via badgals-radio.comvia badgals-radio.com

Out of the ashes of Tivoli we have a big decline in the murder rate (murders have fallen below 80 a month for the first time since 2002). Peter Bunting, the Opposition spokesman on National Security, has insisted  that the dismantling of the Tivoli garrison (referred to as the Shower Posse for the benefit of the US media) is the main reason that crime has declined. So if Bunting is right, we should:

  1. be eternally grateful to Bruce for undoing what Seaga and his pals like Dudus’ daddy, Lester Lloyd Coke aka Jim Brown, had wrought, and,
  2. such gratitude should  translate into a second term

After all, no one but the M.P. for West Kingston could have ordered the security forces to dismantle the garrison. Right ?

Right. Except for the niggling detail of all the effort, lies, money and political capital expended apparently to prevent what now seems to be an overwhelmingly positive outcome :-

  • Dudus gone to New York – he’s now the problem of the American rather than the Jamaican justice system
  • the police re-establishing control of previous no-go areas all over the island;
  • and most importantly our shameful murder rate is at last declining.

So is Bruce (aka Bruised, E-lie, Red Ras’) to be (A) thanked and congratulated on his Machiavellian skill in¬†outmaneuvering the criminals that controlled his constituency; OR

(B) is he just what he appears to his detractors :-

a man so determined to get power and remain in power that ¬†he was – and is– prepared to cooperate with anyone who is able to deliver one or the other (Daryl Vaz and James Robertson to become the leader of the JLP; Christopher “Dudus” Coke to become, and to remain, the M.P. from West Kingston; Harold Brady and ¬†Manatt Phelps and Phillips to save his patron, “Dudus” Coke; the US DEA and the Obama administration to be allowed to remain Prime Minister even after trying their patience with ¬†his increasingly desperate attempts to protect Dudus).

Well, it appears that many in the JLP think that their Prime Minister is a desperate man, and therefore, while receiving their apparent support (he is, after all, the first JLP Prime Minister since 1989) he no longer has their confidence. Hence Bruce protege, Minister Daryl Vaz,¬† failed in his bid to become General Secretary of the party. That’s a pretty big “No Confidence” vote…..

And Bruce has shown what he thinks of his other champion, Minister of Mining and Energy, James Robertson, accused of all sorts (soliciting murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to send Dudus to Venezuela – see Johnson, Ian, Request for asylum in the U.S..) by removing the West Kingston power-plant-to-be from Robertson’s Energy portfolio.

According to our political weather-vane, Mark Wignall, it is already all over for Bruce and the JLP. There are only so many scandals any administration can ride out, especially with an economy in decline.

But, to my mind, a continued decline in crime in general, and murder in particular, might be enough to give E-lie and friends a second term.

Time will tell, I guess, even tho’ the Commission of Enquiry mostly likely won’t…..
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Reading between the lines with Lorna Golding (and Dudus Coke)

UPDATE December 2010 Wikileaks shows Lorna confiding in US Embassy officials about how the PNP and U.S. Congressman Charlie Rangel are conspiring against Bruce and the JLP ! Whispering in Hillary’s ear !!!!
Most hilarious moment ? Lorna “requested that President Obama “reach out” to the Prime Minister as a means of “bigging him up” (i.e., raising his stature)”………

We couldn’t make this stuff up etc….. etc……..
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Lorna Golding

Lorna Golding, sister of JLP MP and Minister of Labour Pearnel Charles and wife of¬† Prime Minister Bruce Golding, has urged us to “Read between the lines” when we consider his confessions, namely that he authorized the hiring of the U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips (after having insisted that he and his government had nothing to do with it).

Since then PM Golding has stopped stalling the extradition process and turned over the U.S.¬† request for Christopher “Dudus” Coke to the Jamaican legal system.

Okay, so let’s go ahead and read between the lines with Lorna :-

Is it that Bruce received a reminder from ‘Dudus’ that he,¬† Dudus, made him, Bruce, the M.P. for West Kingston¬† ? And can make him the “former M.P. of West Kingston” anytime…..

Did Dudus remind Bruce of the long agonizing months between Edward Seaga’s announcement that he would resign as Leader of¬† the Opposition in July 2004 to the old boy’s actual departure in January 2005 ? Those moments when it seemed that Seaga was going to give his seat to Desmond McKenzie and nothing could stop him, leaving Bruce out in the cold with no constituency, no seat, no chance to become Leader of the Opposition…….

Is that what we should remember, Lorna ? The days when¬† Daryl Vaz and James Robertson had to go into Tivoli and make whatever deals necessary with men that knew, trusted and liked Desmond McKenzie and did not know, like or trust Bruce Golding ? All so¬† Bruce could one day be the JLP’s¬† Prime Minister…….

Or should we read between the lines and stop feeling sorry for Bruce, who having sold out to Dudus so he could be PM,  has now turned around and sold out Dudus in order to remain PM for a few more weeks and months ?

Approving the extradition order for Dudus¬† was¬† the cross…. Now we’re waiting to find out what’s the DOUBLE CROSS.

Please take your pick and place your bets:-

(1) Dudus left town (and Jamaica) long ago.¬† Bruce’s confession last Tuesday¬† (May 11, 2010) was just another episode in his life long soap opera “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”…..In Episode 120, after being rejected yet again, Bruised lashes out at Dudus on national TV……..

(2) Bruce waited to “confess” until Kingston was full to the brim of U.S. DEA agents and Columbian hit men (wishing to protect their supply lines) and is trying to scare Dudus out of Tivoli into the arms of¬† one or the other….. (This can still work…..)

(3) Dudus is already “sleeping with the fishes’ ….. Bruce has an agreement with one or two Dudus wannabees and the joke is once again on Tivoli residents and Jamaicans everywhere who are busy defending and condemning a dead man…..

(4) Embarrassed JLP donors (e.g. Wayne “No Visa” Chen, Gordon “Butch” Stewart ) tried to force Bruce to resign, and so now he’s threatening to give them what the duck got :- another confession, this time in Parliament, so Peter Phillips can “make him” tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth….

Please to leave your DOUBLE CROSS picks  in Comments !

Why are we waiting, Prime Minister Golding?

The current Prime Minister of Jamaica seems to deserves our sympathy. He is out of options. Massive cuts in government expenditure must take place so that the government and the economy can continue to function at some basic level.

The IMF is said to be asking for at least 25,000 job cuts.

Air Jamaica will cost US$200 million to divest and/or some unnamed amount to keep it limping along.

Yes, there is nuff on PM Golding’s plate. But there are some things we can’t give him a bligh on:-

(1) Nothing has been done re the extradition of “Dudus”. Nothing except to give “Dudus” another government contract. How long can this go on without totally destroying the credibility and authority of the Prime Minister and his government ?

It is one thing for us, the voters, to gossip wildly and to continuously speculate and assert that we know which politician and which businessman is corrupt and in bed with the dons.

It is quite another for the Prime Minister to prevent the extradition of a man whom nobody, but NOBODY, is asserting has gained his power, influence or fortune by legal means. (Bunny Wailer, in case you are wondering, says he’s never met “Dudus” and is defending him based on some strange idea that the people of West Kingston need “Dudus” to rule over them, so he should be pardoned, not extradited….. Great musician Bunny Wailer. Nuff said ).

So what is the Prime Minister waiting for ? Someone to kill “Dudus” so he doesn’t have to deal with the matter ?

(2) When will there be an announcement of a by-election in East Rural St. Andrew, the constituency currently held by JLP M.P. Joseph Hibbert ? There is no question that Mr. Hibbert is guilty. He has admitted taking money from Mabey and Johnson, the British bridge building company, which subsequently received a no-bid contract from the Jamaican Government. Our Contractor-General concurs with Mr. Hibbert, and with the UK courts, that Mr. Hibbert took the money and is corrupted.

We are being told some bullshit that just because the company has been found guilty in the U.K. and just because the UK government is going to make the company pay the Jamaican government 5 million pounds in compensation for the corruption of our officials, and just because the said corrupted official is, by his own admission, Joe Hibbert, M.P. for East Rural St. Andrew, all of that doesn’t mean that Joe Hibbert is totally compromised and should resign immediately, or resign yesterday, whichever comes first…..

Then today, October 15, 2009, we hear that our Commissioner of Police Hardley Lewin is being pressured to resign. Probably because he doesn’t like the Prime Minister who is presiding over the non-extradition of “Dudus” and the non-resignation of Joe Hibbert, complaining that the Jamaica Constabulary Force isn’t doing enough to combat crime……. Yeah, right.

All I can think is that Prime Minister Golding is under the impression that it is imperative for him and his government to stay in power.

Hence nothing must be done to endanger his standing in his own constituency (the extradition of “Dudus”) and nothing must be done to endanger his slim majority in Parliament (the resignation of Joe Hibbert and the holding of a by-election).

At some point the Prime Minister should consider whether he wanted to govern Jamaica so he could make the island safe for the rule of the dons, and ensure that the likes of Kern Spencer and Joseph Hibbert can sit in Parliament no matter how corrupt they are……..

And we, the voters, have to consider if sort-of-free-health-care and sort-of-free-education are enough reason to allow this deeply disappointing government to serve out a full term……..

Hurricane season : ‘Dudus’ Coke heads north ?

Hurricane Dean ushered Bruce Golding and the JLP into government in September 2007. Tropical Storm Gustav commemorated their first year in office. So far, knock on wood, the 2009 hurricane season has been particularly quiet.

Then, just as things seemed to be winding down to the usual end of summer back-to-school, money-have-to-spend and government-and teachers-must-quarrel, the U.S. authorities are treating us to a whirlwind of scandal, gossip and gambling by requesting that the JLP government of Bruce Golding render up JLP and Tivoli Gardens strongman, Christopher “Dudus” Coke unto the U.S. justice system, well known for eating up Jamaica’s bad men and spitting them out again five or ten years later, no harm done.

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Christopher “Dudus”Coke and his Plantation Heights yard

So how good a story is the requested extradition of “Dudus” ? Let’s see how it breaks down:-

(1) “Dudus” father, Lester Lloyd Coke aka “Jim Brown” died in a fire in his cell on February 23, 1991. He was due to be removed to the U.S. to face trial the following day. Among those who remember “Jim Brown”, everyone has their favourite theory as to who ordered the death of “Jim Brown” – e.g. some say he committed suicide; some say Seaga ordered his death to conceal his ties to the JLP; some say he was killed by his cronies who had no doubt that he would sing like a bird once he was in a U.S. prison.

So, can “Dudus” even survive to face trial in the U.S. ? And if he is to die, who gives the order this time ? Someone in Columbia ? Someone in the U.S. ? Someone in the upper echelons of the present government ?

(2) The history of the extradition treaty between Jamaica and the U.S. since 1991 is basically about JLP dons and a PNP government. Will things be different now that “Dudus'” M.P. and the M.P. for West Kingston is Bruce Golding, the Prime Minister of Jamaica?

(3) Why is “Dudus” Coke’s lawyer, JLP Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, sounding hesitant and unsure of his ground when discussing the matter with the pro-government team at Nationwide radio ?

Where is the brash, arrogant, take-no-prisoners Tom Tavares- Finson that we have come to know (if not to love )?

Can the JLP Senator be worrying that his client’s case is all too similar to that of Norris “Deedo” Nembhard (designated a drug kingpin by George Bush, Nembhard was extradited to the U.S. in 2008, and subsequently convicted on various charges) ? Is he worried that “Dudus” will suffer the same fate as Leebert Ramcharan ?

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Senator Tom Tavares-Finson

(4) Many, many times over the years we have heard that Jamaican criminals in U.S. prisons were going to sing like birds. Remember when Vivian Blake was going to ensure that dozens of Jamaican politicians and “well known businessmen” were discredited, arrested, extradited to the U.S.? Going to rot forever in an American jail ?

Instead, a mere 9 years after he received 28 years in prison, Vivian Blake is back home in Jamaica .

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(5) “Dudus” has supposedly got cover from “his” government. Under the PNP, this kind of “harassment” was par for the course. Nowadays, “Dudus” is a respectable businessman who is rewarded for his loyalty in the usual manner: a few government contracts here and there.

So, what will his “coverage” be worth ? Can Prime Minister Golding really hide “Dudus” from the U.S. authorities behind his government’s skirts ?

(6) The unofficial bookmakers are taking very big bets.

What are the odds on Christopher “Dudus” Coke being extradited alive to the U.S. ? 10 to 1 ? Or more like 100 to 1 ?

What are the odds on his extradition being delayed by the Senator? For one year ? For at least four years ?

So, what’s your take on this ? Where are you putting your money ?

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