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
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
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
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.