Monthly Archives: February 2011

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.

 

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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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