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.