“If I have to pay a political price for it, I will.” – The Hon. Orette Bruce Golding, MP.
These words were spoken in the House of Representatives of Jamaica in response to questions posed by Opposition MP, Dr. Peter Phillips last year. They would prove themselves to be the most honest words spoken by the Jamaican Prime Minister to date in relation to the request for the extradition of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
In the height of the extradition controversy, it was revealed by Dr. Phillips, bless his heart, that a certain U.S. law firm had been contacted to lobby the U.S. Government in relation to the extradition request. This would become a bitter scandal which would engulf the Government of Jamaica for some three months. There were mounting calls for the PM to resign and not long afterwards, calls could be heard for a Commission of Enquiry to be launched into the handling of the extradition request and to determine who contracted the U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.
True to his words and willing to pay the political price for Jamaica’s first and only President aka “Prezzi”, Mr. Golding named a Commission of Enquiry. The Commissioners were to be Emil George, (as chairman) Anthony Irons and Donald Scharschmidt.
And then came Keith Desmond Knight QC.
The PNP’s chief legal counsel at the commission, KD Knight has been turning up the heat at the Jamaica Conference Centre and no doubt giving the PM and indeed the Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne ‘knight’mares. Mr. Knight has embarked on a ruthless quest to unearth the truth and so far has been a practical pittbull, tearing away at the web of lies and deception spun by senior members of the Golding administration.
The Justice Minister in particular must be nervous as hell, since all her supposed co-conspirators have directly contradicted her on some key points in relation to the extradition saga. Even more important and amusing even, is the fact that no one seems concerned with protecting anyone anymore, they are all trying to save themselves.
The Solicitor General, Douglas Leys; who owes his job to the Golding administration, has flat out rejected the Justice Minister’s comments in the Senate that she had first learnt of the law firm when Dr. Phillips brought the issue to parliament. Mr. Leys has argued that he told the Minister some three or four months before about some meetings he had in Washington with representatives of the law firm.
Ha. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when at first we set out to deceive.
It is wholly unacceptable that public officials in this country are allowed to lie to the Parliament with no consequence. KD Knight was censured in the Senate for calling the Justice Minister “stupid”, but I would echo his sentiments as she allowed her political affiliation to cloud her greater constitutional responsibility as the Attorney General of Jamaica. She allowed herself to be controlled and manipulated by the PM into protecting the ‘Prezzi’ of Tivoli Gardens. That, Honourable Minister, was indeed stupid and as K.D. rightly said “if it quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.” (Resist the urge to say the Minister is shaped like a duck, please.) The JLP supports have tried to throw cold water on the proceedings and to downplay the enormity of the damage done to the Labour party. They have even argued that KD Knight will be his usual “sexist” self when cross examining Ms. Lightbourne, but I submit that her being a woman has nothing to do with it. She ought to subject to the same level of scrutiny that the other witnessess have. She has been dishonest and proven herself wholly incompetent. I repeat, if it quacks like a duck, it is a duck.
Finally, I’d like to touch very briefly on these MOU’s which have been the subject of intense attention from the JLP’s lawyer Frank Phipps and others. Oh, and by the way, Frank Phipps, the attorney representing the JLP, is pure evil and a serious threat to the national security of Jamaica. His insistence that classified intelligence information be publicized is nothing short of treason.
But I digress.
As far as I understand, the MOU’s simply allow communication intercepted in Jamaica to be shared with foreign states. How is that a problem? The authority to tap the person’s phone would have been given by a judge of the Jamaican Supreme Court. We can safely assume that the judge would ensure that the tapping was justified and ensure it would be lawful. That is, it would not breach any inherent rights. So what really is the problem? The police would not need to request a wiretap if you are a lawful citizen, and if they did we must trust that the judge would not grant that request. I say the state need not consider the rights of criminals or even alleged criminals. Their rights must be trampled in the interest of the greater good. Yeah, I said it.
The Enquiry will come to a climax when PM Golding & Justice Minister Lightbourne meet KD Knight. It promises to be a battle royale. We anxiously await that day. So many labourites must be having ‘knight’mares.
To Be Continued…