Monthly Archives: October 2006

Island temperature: hot, rainy, election brewing

Earlier this year Prof Carolyn Cooper infuriated other members of the intelligentsia when she claimed that the race for the PNP presidency was a struggle to determine who ‘owns’ Jamaica.

Is the island the property of the black majority, the so-called poorer classes ? Or is it the property of middle class Jamaicans of all colours ? Portia was held to represent the former (who have always been disenfranchised ), while Omar and Peter represented the latter (those who feel that their superior incomes and education entitle them to rule……)

The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20030909/mind/Images/CarolyncooperB20030910c.JPG” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Prof Carolyn Cooper

Just to clarify, the class struggle, as defined by Dr.Cooper, is separate from the race issue. Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson ran on a race-based “black man time” platform in 1993 and his 14-year-and-3-election-victory tenure proved to some that the “red man party”, otherwise known as the Opposition JLP, could never win again without a black person at the helm. (According to this analysis, Bruce Golding and Audley Shaw might as well have thrown in the towel in 1993 – too red skinned to lead…..)

https://i0.wp.com/www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20000721/Lead/Images/AUDLEY-SHAW.GIF Audley Shaw

The image “https://i2.wp.com/www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060129/news/Images/JLPbanquetD20050528WS.JPG” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Portia and Bruce (in happier times……)

As we know, Portia won the class struggle elections, and the poorer classes are now officially, and rightfully, the owners of island Jamaica. However, the middle classes largely retain ownership of the newspapers, columns and the media in general, and the new reality is causing much anguish in these quarters.

Who, if anyone, is qualified to speak on behalf of the poorer/working class ? And are they listening anyway ?

Despite the PNP’s non-performance over everything from the cement crisis to the GSAT results, the summer polls showed the governing party winning the next election.

Then came Trafigura and Bruce rampant. Having analysed the poll data, Bruce seems to have concluded that no JLP manifesto would be of any use with the electorate, and he has concentrated on showing that Portia is a weak leader who cannot control her pack of jokers.

The pundits have flung themselves into the fray – not least the Jamaica Observer and erstwhile Portia supporter, Mark Wignall. Kevin O’Brien Chang has had difficulty concealing his feelings about people who disregard everything important
to him
and just say “a Portia mi love and a vote for”. Tamara Scott-Williams wrote a excellent article reminding us of all the scandals, tiefery and general evildoing of the PNP over the last 18 years, of which Trafigura must be the least because comparatively little money was involved….Everyone who is anyone has had their say.

And now today’s paper carries Bruce Golding’s promise to JLP supporters in Manchester that when he makes his Christmas speech :” I’ll be doing so from Jamaica House as Prime Minister of Jamaica”.

Clearly the Opposition Leader believes that Trafigura and its aftermath was the tipping point. He believes that those Jamaicans who strongly supported Portia have now been disabused as to her capacity to lead the country and after 18 years are ready for a JLP dawn.

I hope Bruce has some very good, and very recent, polling data to back up his belief. I find it surprising that an electorate that was personally affected by the cement debacle (you couldn’t even get enough cement to make a chicken house, and construction workers were idle and unpaid) and didn’t let it change their view of the government or Sister P, would be ready to vote her out only 3 or 4 months later. Still, there must be a turning/tipping point and maybe the owners have reached that point. If it so, it so.

Which pollster you use, Bruce ? I hope it’s not Mark Wignall again…..

And which advisor you have, Bruce, who tells you that you should announce, from now, the election timetable and the outcome ? If you sure you running Portia, at least let her announce the timetable for her departure. Ever heard of hubris, Bruce ?

The PNP (in disarray according to the pundits), and the PM (vacillating and under fire according to the pundits) don’t seem too concerned to me. Instead the PNP looks like a party getting ready for a fifth term with its supporters fighting amongst themselves to make sure they have a place at the trough.

Instead of the old horses retiring to pasture as we were promised, we have Trevor Munroe and Roger Clarke booting aside younger men; Norman Horne using “tactics” to get a Portland seat and ex-JLP no hopers like Abe Dabdoub and Verna Parchment hanging around trying to look like comrades.

So what do the PNP know ?

Do they suspect that the owners of the country think the ‘bad cement’ problem was the fault of Caribbean Cement, the manufacturers, and that you have to be a determined reader of page-long newspaper columns (i.e.middle class) to understand that Minister Phillip Paulwell might have acted to prevent the shortage ?

Do the PNP suspect that Scandals Whitehouse ended satisfactorily for the owners when God was forced out, and all else is hot air and posturing ?

Do the PNP think that tying the Trafigura scandal to spending on the party conference mean that the owners feel it was money well spent, if not well gotten ?

Do the PNP understand that all the irate Portmore voters who are now using the toll road are not likely to vote against the government on that issue ?

Do the PNP understand the “Clinton” effect – namely that when a popular leader is attacked it only increases their popularity (remember Clinton’s popularity zoomed to the 90’s when the Republicans were impeaching him for having oral sex in the Oval Office) ?

I think the PNP understands the owners very well. They will not be mocked. They will not be told that they should let the country be run by those who “know better”. They may throw out Portia and love her still. But they won’t throw out Portia because the middle classes and the media tell them that that’s what they should do. (And I don’t think they’ll be electing Bruce just because he says he’ll be in Jamaica House by Christmas….)

If Bruce and the JLP are to win the next election, they have to convince the owners that electing them, and putting aside Portia, does not mean giving up ownership. It does not mean five years of being disregarded and condescended to and fed crumbs from a table where the middle class are feasting. I don’t see the JLP trying to make this case. Since Portia appears to be the PNP’s manifesto, the JLP are concentrating their efforts on discrediting her. It may work, but I’d like to see some evidence of this (some evidence like poll data – something other than column inches by people who would never vote for Portia in this or any other election….)

It seems to me that the PNP are not paying that much attention to the JLP or to the pundits. I think that the PNP are a lot more worried about the blood running in inner city communities and the police response (arresting PNP activists), especially since the “traditional” police action in a pre-election period is a massive
raid on Tivoli……..Remember that it was PNP MP’s and activists that called for Colonel McMillan’s removal as Commissioner of Police in 1996, because they didn’t think they could win an election with Colonel Incorruptible in charge of the force ? Imagine how they feel now with the police busy arresting men who have killed on behalf of the PNP ?

Forget Trafigura. People dying and having to leave their homes because of gunmen trying to control political turf ? Now that could definitely lose the PNP the next election……

The pundits bark, the middle classes shake their heads at the way democracy works, and the owners are picking out their camels and getting ready to move on……

Will they lead out Bruce’s caravan or Portia’s ? Island Jamaica is under new ownership and looks like we’ll just have to wait and see……

The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House

The Harder They Come (includes Soundtrack CD)

[composed and posted with ecto]

Jamaica after Trafigura ? Money matters

Market forces (Part I)

After a week (or is it two ?) of exercising ourselves over Dutch oil trader, Trafigura Beheer, paying J$31 million for the PNP party conference, big money is still on the agenda as our Minister of Finance Dr. Omar Davies announced that the Government of Jamaica will give a Serbian football coach, Velibor Milutinovic (henceforth to be known as “Bora”) US$500,000 (or J$32,500,000) per year for four years towards his US$1,000,000 annual salary). Bora’s task ? Deliver the Reggae Boys to a first round World Cup match in South Africa in 2010.

 

15 03 2005 Milutinovic Mag 1 Bora Milutinovic

Naturally, there will be no chorus of shocked persons questioning big money Government expenditure on such a popular national cause. Who can forget the glory days of Rene Simoes ? When we, wagonists all, went around preaching to each other about the need for discipline because Rene insisted that no football team could succeed without it ?

And when some members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force complained recently about the salaries being paid to our British cops, they did not receive the support of outraged columnists and angry pundits. Naturally not. Since the Scotland Yardies (Mr-tall-and-handsome Mark Shields et al) have been here the police force has delivered a substantial cut in the murder rate – something that many Jamaicans believed could never happen. So they are well worth the money. Same way Rene Simoes was worth his money. Same way we hope Bora will worth the money.

1406Rene Simoes2 Ae180 Rene Simoes Jbbameetinga20050622Rb DCP Mark Shields

Trafigura hoped that (and here, I speculate) that the PNP, as the party in power, would deliver an annual contract for lifting Nigerian oil and selling it on to third parties. They were prepared to pay good money to ensure that the contract was renewed.

Not quite as much money as we Jamaicans are prepared to pay for the Reggae Boys to represent us at the World Cup 2010, and not quite as much as we are paying our 4 or 5 Yardies to get crime under control. But still, good money.

All week I have been listening to the talk shows and scanning the papers to hear how political parties will be funded in the future (after a new campaign finance law has been passed) when every political donation will be scrutinized for origin and cleanliness.

Although we have ample evidence of the ingenuity of politicians and donors (check out the U.K.’s cash-for honours scandal) we seem convinced that legislation will change politics-as-we-know-it.

It appears that, in the future, Big Company NumberOne will not care one bit if the Party-in-Power (PIP) knows that it has given a huge donation to the Party-out-of-Power (POOP). Cash-rich-but-with-no-visible-source-of-income Mister BigMan will not care a hoot if the police and POOP know that he gives regular donations to the PIP M.P..

And why will they no longer care who knows their business and who they support? I’m not sure, but I think it’s because, in the future, all members of PIP and POOP will stop thinking that money (donations) matters. POOP candidates and M.P.’s will not worry if they can’t afford to hold meetings and curry goat feeds in every part of the constituency. PIP M.P’s and candidates will stop caring whether they have money to help with funerals, school fees and treats for the elderly.

And why will the PIP and POOP politicians stop caring about money ? Because, in the wake of the Trafigura scandal, Jamaican voters have realized that money in politics is corrupting our democracy…. And so we have resolved that we will no longer expect politicians to have money:-

Henceforth, Jamaican taxpayers will allocate sufficient government funds so that both parties can conduct nice, cheap campaigns (for example:- debates between candidates in the parish capital, a few tasteful infomercial style TV ads, a lot of meet-the-people walkabouts).

Henceforth, Jamaican voters will no longer line up at constituency offices to “beg a money” from the M.P..

Henceforth, PIP and POOP M.P.’s and constituency caretakers will be able to move around the constituencies shaking hands and kissing babies without being harassed by crude demands for “donations” to various community causes.

I bet they’re looking forward to it already. So am I.


“Struck Dumb: The History and Consequences of Campaign Finance Reform” (Allison Hayward)

Market forces (Part II)

The Nobel Committee has awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker. He runs a profit making enterprise, the Grameen Bank, which makes micro-loans to very poor people so they can start their own businesses.

The Nobel Committee believes that reducing poverty by empowering poor people is one of the most powerful means of creating lasting peace.

Dr. Yunus’s Grameen Bank makes micro-loans mainly to women. Not surprising, since in Bangladesh, as in Jamaica, women and children make up the majority of the very poorest people. Grameen Bank loans are “guaranteed” by groups of 5 women from the same community as the borrower. No other collateral required.

Micro-credit has long been a staple of the political and economic landscape in Jamaica. However our micro-credit efforts differ from Dr. Yunus’s work. Successive governments here have used micro-credit agencies as (1) slush funds to give money to unemployed young men in the inner city 2) employers for party supporters.

Like women in Bangladesh, Jamaican women have a superior record of repaying loans. Like women in Bangladesh, Jamaican women have a history of cooperative saving to raise money for major expenses. We call it “throwing pardner”.

How about poor Jamaican women getting a chance, like Bangladeshi women, to borrow small amounts of money to start their own businesses ?

How about one of our bankers putting their money where their mouth is ? Michael Lee-Chin of National Commercial Bank ? Over to you……


“Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty” (Muhammad Yunus, Alan Jolis)

Short stories

From Britain

Boris Johnson (U.K. Tory M.P.) has written an article explaining to Daily Telegraph readers why Iran wants a nuclear bomb. To stop the U.S. of A. from treating it like it is treating Iraq ! Not exactly shocking news if you are from any developing country, but I’m sure it will come as a surprise to many Brits who still believe that they (and the Americans) are over in Iraq introducing democracy…..

Bix Sl6805 Boris Johnson, M.P.

From America

The New York Times has an article about how married people are now a minority in the U.S. No surprise to those of us who have been following the Jamaicanization of the world.

Those of us “yearning to breathe free” can forget about migrating to the United States. The new Anti-Terrorism Bill just passed by Congress makes U.S. citizens just as liable for interrogation and torture by their own Government as the citizens of other great democracies (you know, like Russia, China, Iran…..).

From Grenada

Morgan Freeman has a new book out about Caribbean cooking. Sales will benefit the Grenada Relief Fund set up after the island was mashed up by Hurricane Ivan.


“Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause” (Wendy Wilkinson, Donna Lee)

Many Caribbean men have joined the British and American armies and given distinguished service in Iraq and Afghanistan. None braver and none more honoured than Grenadian Johnson Beharry. He is still alive somehow but very damaged. If you have some money to spare, you might want to support him by buying his book.


“Barefoot Soldier” (Johnson Beharry, Nick Cook)

From Trinidad

Carifesta IX is long since over and, apparently, was another great big yawn. So imagine our excitement when we read this:-

The Bahamas are hopeful that Carifesta X will deposit an estimated US$100 million in revenue into their national coffers, when the event takes place in that country in two years’ time.

Winston Saunders, chairman of the National Cultural Development Commission in the Bahamas, revealed his country’s income projections in an interview with the Guardian during Sunday night’s closing of Carifesta IX at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain.

His statements came on the heels of a declaration by Caricom Secretary General Edwin Carrington, who described Carifesta as “a drain on the purse of regional governments.

“We will see a new look Carifesta in 2008. There’s a new model—a new plan.

“An element of economic benefit is the new element to Carifesta. Carifesta should fill, rather than drain the public purse.

“There are tourism benefits for this event. The Bahamas is the ideal place for Carifesta’s transformation.”

 

If the Bahamas can make US$100 million from Carifesta X, then clearly Carifesta should never be held anywhere else.

From Yahso

 

I was more than pleased when Colonel Trevor McMillan became a JLP Senator. But I forgot one thing. When you become a Senator, you become a politician. You have to be able to make hay even if the sun is NOT shining. Here, from the Gleaner, is Colonel McMillan trying to sound like a politician:-
Senator MacMillan said the reduction in crime, while good, was still “no consolation” as it was still too high.

Oh dear. Speaking the truth ! Not exaggerating ! Not abusing anyone ! Clearly, Karl Samuda will have to take him in hand…..

More from Yahso

And are you still wondering what, if anything, will happen next about Trafigura, the J$31 million, Minister Paulwell’s involvement, the whole rotting fish head ? Well, Danny Buchanan (Portia supporter from her first run in 1992) got all Colin’s work AND the Prime Minister will finally speak to the matter this Tuesday, October 17, 2006 in the House of Parliament…….. Just a tip:- Don’t hold your breath


“Real Pirates of the Caribbean” (Highland Ent.)

 

[posted with ecto]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , Trinidad, Grenada, Johnson Beharry, Bahamas, Carifesta, , , , , ,

Bruce Golding knocks Colin Campbell out of Cabinet, asks for next contender…

UPDATE October 23, 2009

Colin Campbell, long since vanished from the national political scene, finally settles with the bank that (evidently illegally) exposed him. Please note that the other culprit, Phillip Paulwell, remains both in Parliament and in the Shadow Cabinet. Remember the name : Phillip Paulwell. This is a man who thoroughly understands Jamaican politics and has an unerring sense of which way the wind is going to blow………………
*****************************************************
Original Post
October 9, 2006

Well, I got this one totally wrong, but, can’t say I’m sorry about this particular result….

Bruce’s revelations about Trafigura’s transactions with the PNP forced the resignation of Colin Campbell, Minister of Information and PNP General Secretary, one of the few PNP big noises to have supported Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in the PNP leadership race. Lots of celebrating in both PNP (Peter-not-Portia section) and JLP camps last night.


“The Perfect Punch” (Bfs Entertainment)

This morning’s harsh light is shining on:-

1. What was the nature of the transaction between the PNP and Trafigura ? What can a political party do for an oil trader that can earn them J$31 million ? Apart from the obvious bribery/thiefery/sign-right-here-on-the-dotted-line-boss-tank-yu…….

2. Did anything criminal take place ?

3. Speak up, Minister Paulwell ! We can’t hear you. You involve or you don’t involve ?

4. What is the role of Goodworks International (newest employee: former Prime Minister of Jamaica P.J. Patterson) in the “transactions” with Trafigura ?

Over in the dark corner :-


1. The future of whistle blower Sonia Christie (Let’s hope she’s not married to a parasite, because it looks like she might be sitting home twiddling her thumbs for a good while…….)

2. Who gets Colin’s work ? PM Portia says she’s going to handle this herself for now….(Is this when new PNP Vice President Angella Brown-Burke becomes a Senator and goes over to fight it out with the JLP’s Joan Gordon-Webley over in South East St. Andrew?)

3. PM Portia has ordered that Trafigura be given back its dirty money. Since the money spend already, should we assume that First Caribbean International Bank will be coming up with the cash needed in order to avoid any further publicity about its little problem with client confidentiality ?

Skeptics corner :

Bruce might want to watch how diligently he and the JLP clean Portia’s house for her. He doesn’t need it looking too polish, shine and squeaky clean come National Accountability Day….


“Housekeeping” (Marilynne Robinson)

[posted with ecto]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Bruce Golding knocks Colin Campbell out of Cabinet, asks for next contender…

Well, I got this one totally wrong, but, can’t say I’m sorry about this particular result….

Bruce’s revelations about Trafigura’s transactions with the PNP forced the resignation of Colin Campbell, Minister of Information and PNP General Secretary, one of the few PNP big noises to have supported Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in the PNP leadership race. Lots of celebrating in both PNP (Peter-not-Portia section) and JLP camps last night.


“The Perfect Punch” (Bfs Entertainment)

This morning’s harsh light is shining on:-

1. What was the nature of the transaction between the PNP and Trafigura ? What can a political party do for an oil trader that can earn them J$31 million ? Apart from the obvious bribery/thiefery/sign-right-here-on-the-dotted-line-boss-tank-yu…….

2. Did anything criminal take place ?

3. Speak up, Minister Paulwell ! We can’t hear you. You involve or you don’t involve ?

4. What is the role of Goodworks International (newest employee: former Prime Minister of Jamaica P.J. Patterson) in the “transactions” with Trafigura ?

Over in the dark corner :-


1. The future of whistle blower Sonia Christie (Let’s hope she’s not married to a parasite, because it looks like she might be sitting home twiddling her thumbs for a good while…….)

2. Who gets Colin’s work ? PM Portia says she’s going to handle this herself for now….(Is this when new PNP Vice President Angella Brown-Burke becomes a Senator and goes over to fight it out with the JLP’s Joan Gordon-Webley over in South East St. Andrew?)

3. PM Portia has ordered that Trafigura be given back its dirty money. Since the money spend already, should we assume that First Caribbean International Bank will be coming up with the cash needed in order to avoid any further publicity about its little problem with client confidentiality ?

Skeptics corner :

Bruce might want to watch how diligently he and the JLP clean Portia’s house for her. He doesn’t need it looking too polish, shine and squeaky clean come National Accountability Day….


“Housekeeping” (Marilynne Robinson)

[posted with ecto]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Bruce bites off more than he can chew (Updated Saturday Oct 7, ‘06)

There was nuff excitement in the precincts of Parliament Tuesday gone (Oct 3, ’06). While the MP’s of the governing party were inside the House debating a motion to censure Opposition MP Karl Samuda (for being Karl Samuda and running off his mouth), the Leader of the Opposition walked out of the debate and held a press conference to announce that the recent PNP party conference had been funded using J$ 31 million in monies obtained from the notorious Dutch oil trader, Trafigura.

He implied that these were funds improperly obtained as part of Jamaica’s long standing oil deal with Nigeria, and he called on the Government to resign.

 

“Politics of Bones, The: Dr. Owens Wiwa And The Struggle For Nigeria’s Oil” (J. Timothy Hunt)

 

All very exciting, and the timing was perfect (for the evening news). In addition to his allegations, Bruce Golding also had evidence – cancelled cheques signed by 2 Cabinet Ministers, Phillip Paulwell and Colin Campbell (both Team Portia members, you will recall).

 

 

Colin-Campbell Minister Campbell 2991 Minister Paulwell

By Wednesday morning, the whole episode was looking distinctly duller, and far from resigning, the Cabinet Ministers in question were busy with their lawyers, preparing (1) to find out how/why the bank had provided the information to the JLP (2) to sue the Leader of the Opposition. Mr Golding, lacking Samuda’s native caution, had made the libelous statements outside of the House and therefore could not claim his Parliamentary privileges.

Turns out that Trafigura, a company which has been trading Nigerian oil for Jamaica through both PNP and JLP administrations (yes, child, the JLP were once in power, long, long, ago…), had made a contribution to the PNP’s campaign financing and the PNP had used this money to fund the party conference.

Not quite the thrilling, government-crashing-to-its-knees story we had been led to believe on Tuesday night.

All day Wednesday, young male supporters of both parties were covering all the bases on the talk shows (these must be the parasites of whom Dr. Munroe speaks because I don’t know which business place allows employees to spend the whole morning on the phone chatting to talk show hosts about the issues of the day……). Bruce Golding and Karl Samuda for the JLP, and Bobby Pickersgill for the PNP also talked up a storm.

How it’s looking this morning ?

A. General consensus that it “doesn’t look good for the PNP to be getting contributions from a foreign company that does business with the Government”.

B. Nothing illegal took place.

C. Both parties should work together to push campaign finance reform through the House with all possible dispatch.

D. Nothing will be done because neither party has any intention of revealing who contributes to their party’s finances.

E. The PNP has outflanked the JLP as per usual…..

Who’s disappointed ?

A. Voters who would prefer that the PNP not win a fifth term (and this apparently includes those members of the PNP who don’t like having a black, working class woman as leader)

B. Voters (myself included) who thought Bruce Golding was both intelligent and thoughtful (and would never have called that press conference without having party lawyers and strategists cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s….)

C. Fight fans who hate to watch knock outs and prefer matches to go at least five rounds

Update/Saturday, October 7

There’s been a lot of backing and forthing, fussing in the Senate, more accusations and counter accusations. Everyone (PNP, JLP, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Jamaicans for Justice) has climbed up on their high horse and look like staying there over the weekend. Sonia Christie, a senior employee of the bank in question (First Caribbean International Bank) has either been fired (according to the Gleaner) or sent on leave (according to the Observer).
Only one piece of news so far : Trafigura denies that it made a donation and says that the funds were part of a “commercial transaction”. Last night on “Nationwide”, Cliff Hughes pointed out that there are OECD guidelines for the conduct of  international businesses headquartered in OECD countries (Trafigura Beheer B.V. is Dutch). Giving a donation to the ruling political party of a country you do business with, appears to constitute bribery under these guidelines, hence Trafigura’s denial that it had made such a donation…..Well, at least Trafigura seems to know what their “donation” to the PNP was for…..

Minister Colin Campbell has asked Trafigura to “clarify” their statement. Is he hoping they will admit it was a bribe ? Can Trafigura put the genie back in the bottle ? Will we all have forgotten about it by next week Tuesday ? After all, the Koreans are shooting at each other across the border in anticipation of North Korea’s nuclear tests; Russia and Georgia are daggers drawn; and U.S. Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice has been in the Middle East rallying support for “action” against Iran ………..

“The Greatest” (Tom Gries, Monte Hellman)

[posted with ecto]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Bruce bites off more than he can chew (Updated Saturday Oct 7, ’06)

There was nuff excitement in the precincts of Parliament Tuesday gone (Oct 3, ’06). While the MP’s of the governing party were inside the House debating a motion to censure Opposition MP Karl Samuda (for being Karl Samuda and running off his mouth), the Leader of the Opposition walked out of the debate and held a press conference to announce that the recent PNP party conference had been funded using J$ 31 million in monies obtained from the notorious Dutch oil trader, Trafigura.

He implied that these were funds improperly obtained as part of Jamaica’s long standing oil deal with Nigeria, and he called on the Government to resign.

 

“Politics of Bones, The: Dr. Owens Wiwa And The Struggle For Nigeria’s Oil” (J. Timothy Hunt)

 

All very exciting, and the timing was perfect (for the evening news). In addition to his allegations, Bruce Golding also had evidence – cancelled cheques signed by 2 Cabinet Ministers, Phillip Paulwell and Colin Campbell (both Team Portia members, you will recall).

 

 

Colin-Campbell Minister Campbell 2991 Minister Paulwell

By Wednesday morning, the whole episode was looking distinctly duller, and far from resigning, the Cabinet Ministers in question were busy with their lawyers, preparing (1) to find out how/why the bank had provided the information to the JLP (2) to sue the Leader of the Opposition. Mr Golding, lacking Samuda’s native caution, had made the libelous statements outside of the House and therefore could not claim his Parliamentary privileges.

Turns out that Trafigura, a company which has been trading Nigerian oil for Jamaica through both PNP and JLP administrations (yes, child, the JLP were once in power, long, long, ago…), had made a contribution to the PNP’s campaign financing and the PNP had used this money to fund the party conference.

Not quite the thrilling, government-crashing-to-its-knees story we had been led to believe on Tuesday night.

All day Wednesday, young male supporters of both parties were covering all the bases on the talk shows (these must be the parasites of whom Dr. Munroe speaks because I don’t know which business place allows employees to spend the whole morning on the phone chatting to talk show hosts about the issues of the day……). Bruce Golding and Karl Samuda for the JLP, and Bobby Pickersgill for the PNP also talked up a storm.

How it’s looking this morning ?

A. General consensus that it “doesn’t look good for the PNP to be getting contributions from a foreign company that does business with the Government”.

B. Nothing illegal took place.

C. Both parties should work together to push campaign finance reform through the House with all possible dispatch.

D. Nothing will be done because neither party has any intention of revealing who contributes to their party’s finances.

E. The PNP has outflanked the JLP as per usual…..

Who’s disappointed ?

A. Voters who would prefer that the PNP not win a fifth term (and this apparently includes those members of the PNP who don’t like having a black, working class woman as leader)

B. Voters (myself included) who thought Bruce Golding was both intelligent and thoughtful (and would never have called that press conference without having party lawyers and strategists cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s….)

C. Fight fans who hate to watch knock outs and prefer matches to go at least five rounds

Update/Saturday, October 7

There’s been a lot of backing and forthing, fussing in the Senate, more accusations and counter accusations. Everyone (PNP, JLP, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Jamaicans for Justice) has climbed up on their high horse and look like staying there over the weekend. Sonia Christie, a senior employee of the bank in question (First Caribbean International Bank) has either been fired (according to the Gleaner) or sent on leave (according to the Observer).
Only one piece of news so far : Trafigura denies that it made a donation and says that the funds were part of a “commercial transaction”. Last night on “Nationwide”, Cliff Hughes pointed out that there are OECD guidelines for the conduct of  international businesses headquartered in OECD countries (Trafigura Beheer B.V. is Dutch). Giving a donation to the ruling political party of a country you do business with, appears to constitute bribery under these guidelines, hence Trafigura’s denial that it had made such a donation…..Well, at least Trafigura seems to know what their “donation” to the PNP was for…..

Minister Colin Campbell has asked Trafigura to “clarify” their statement. Is he hoping they will admit it was a bribe ? Can Trafigura put the genie back in the bottle ? Will we all have forgotten about it by next week Tuesday ? After all, the Koreans are shooting at each other across the border in anticipation of North Korea’s nuclear tests; Russia and Georgia are daggers drawn; and U.S. Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice has been in the Middle East rallying support for “action” against Iran ………..

“The Greatest” (Tom Gries, Monte Hellman)

[posted with ecto]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,