Tag Archives: crime rate

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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Will he stay or will he go ? Bruce Golding lies and apologizes one more time…..

E-lie Golding with friends James Robertson and Daryl Vaz

So the dust has more less settled on the Dudus affair. After Harold Brady revealed in October 2010 that the Prime Minister had asked him to set up the whole deal with Manatt to protect Dudus and prevent his extradition; and that Minister Daryl Vaz handled the money and payments;  the Prime Minister finally caved and announced a Commission of Enquiry .

Traditionally, Commissions of Enquiry take forever and thereby allow guilty parties to relax and exhale, knowing that by the time the Commission reports most people will have forgotten what they were so exercised about at the time (see the enquiry into the 2008 police killings in Tivoli …….)

It is clear that the Manatt/Dudus/Brady Enquiry is going to follow this long established pattern. The Enquiry won’t even start until January 17, 2011 making it almost impossible to finish by the supposed deadline of February 28, 2011…….. In the meantime, we can all refresh our memories by reading some of the pertinent letters and emails (thanks to the Gleaner for archiving these documents!)

What is particularly amusing (or annoying) about this Commission of Enquiry is that we are not supposed to need it. The Prime Minister has assured us on several occasions that he has already made a full confession. And if he knows he hasn’t yet told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then why doesn’t he just have another press conference, tell us how it really went, and save everybody a lot of time and money ? Most likely, the only thing we don’t know is who paid the bill for the law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips . And the PM has already told us that he’s NOT telling us……….

Bruce sits on a vendor

via badgals-radio.comvia badgals-radio.com

Out of the ashes of Tivoli we have a big decline in the murder rate (murders have fallen below 80 a month for the first time since 2002). Peter Bunting, the Opposition spokesman on National Security, has insisted  that the dismantling of the Tivoli garrison (referred to as the Shower Posse for the benefit of the US media) is the main reason that crime has declined. So if Bunting is right, we should:

  1. be eternally grateful to Bruce for undoing what Seaga and his pals like Dudus’ daddy, Lester Lloyd Coke aka Jim Brown, had wrought, and,
  2. such gratitude should  translate into a second term

After all, no one but the M.P. for West Kingston could have ordered the security forces to dismantle the garrison. Right ?

Right. Except for the niggling detail of all the effort, lies, money and political capital expended apparently to prevent what now seems to be an overwhelmingly positive outcome :-

  • Dudus gone to New York – he’s now the problem of the American rather than the Jamaican justice system
  • the police re-establishing control of previous no-go areas all over the island;
  • and most importantly our shameful murder rate is at last declining.

So is Bruce (aka Bruised, E-lie, Red Ras’) to be (A) thanked and congratulated on his Machiavellian skill in outmaneuvering the criminals that controlled his constituency; OR

(B) is he just what he appears to his detractors :-

a man so determined to get power and remain in power that  he was – and is– prepared to cooperate with anyone who is able to deliver one or the other (Daryl Vaz and James Robertson to become the leader of the JLP; Christopher “Dudus” Coke to become, and to remain, the M.P. from West Kingston; Harold Brady and  Manatt Phelps and Phillips to save his patron, “Dudus” Coke; the US DEA and the Obama administration to be allowed to remain Prime Minister even after trying their patience with  his increasingly desperate attempts to protect Dudus).

Well, it appears that many in the JLP think that their Prime Minister is a desperate man, and therefore, while receiving their apparent support (he is, after all, the first JLP Prime Minister since 1989) he no longer has their confidence. Hence Bruce protege, Minister Daryl Vaz,  failed in his bid to become General Secretary of the party. That’s a pretty big “No Confidence” vote…..

And Bruce has shown what he thinks of his other champion, Minister of Mining and Energy, James Robertson, accused of all sorts (soliciting murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to send Dudus to Venezuela – see Johnson, Ian, Request for asylum in the U.S..) by removing the West Kingston power-plant-to-be from Robertson’s Energy portfolio.

According to our political weather-vane, Mark Wignall, it is already all over for Bruce and the JLP. There are only so many scandals any administration can ride out, especially with an economy in decline.

But, to my mind, a continued decline in crime in general, and murder in particular, might be enough to give E-lie and friends a second term.

Time will tell, I guess, even tho’ the Commission of Enquiry mostly likely won’t…..
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Why are we waiting, Prime Minister Golding?

The current Prime Minister of Jamaica seems to deserves our sympathy. He is out of options. Massive cuts in government expenditure must take place so that the government and the economy can continue to function at some basic level.

The IMF is said to be asking for at least 25,000 job cuts.

Air Jamaica will cost US$200 million to divest and/or some unnamed amount to keep it limping along.

Yes, there is nuff on PM Golding’s plate. But there are some things we can’t give him a bligh on:-

(1) Nothing has been done re the extradition of “Dudus”. Nothing except to give “Dudus” another government contract. How long can this go on without totally destroying the credibility and authority of the Prime Minister and his government ?

It is one thing for us, the voters, to gossip wildly and to continuously speculate and assert that we know which politician and which businessman is corrupt and in bed with the dons.

It is quite another for the Prime Minister to prevent the extradition of a man whom nobody, but NOBODY, is asserting has gained his power, influence or fortune by legal means. (Bunny Wailer, in case you are wondering, says he’s never met “Dudus” and is defending him based on some strange idea that the people of West Kingston need “Dudus” to rule over them, so he should be pardoned, not extradited….. Great musician Bunny Wailer. Nuff said ).

So what is the Prime Minister waiting for ? Someone to kill “Dudus” so he doesn’t have to deal with the matter ?

(2) When will there be an announcement of a by-election in East Rural St. Andrew, the constituency currently held by JLP M.P. Joseph Hibbert ? There is no question that Mr. Hibbert is guilty. He has admitted taking money from Mabey and Johnson, the British bridge building company, which subsequently received a no-bid contract from the Jamaican Government. Our Contractor-General concurs with Mr. Hibbert, and with the UK courts, that Mr. Hibbert took the money and is corrupted.

We are being told some bullshit that just because the company has been found guilty in the U.K. and just because the UK government is going to make the company pay the Jamaican government 5 million pounds in compensation for the corruption of our officials, and just because the said corrupted official is, by his own admission, Joe Hibbert, M.P. for East Rural St. Andrew, all of that doesn’t mean that Joe Hibbert is totally compromised and should resign immediately, or resign yesterday, whichever comes first…..

Then today, October 15, 2009, we hear that our Commissioner of Police Hardley Lewin is being pressured to resign. Probably because he doesn’t like the Prime Minister who is presiding over the non-extradition of “Dudus” and the non-resignation of Joe Hibbert, complaining that the Jamaica Constabulary Force isn’t doing enough to combat crime……. Yeah, right.

All I can think is that Prime Minister Golding is under the impression that it is imperative for him and his government to stay in power.

Hence nothing must be done to endanger his standing in his own constituency (the extradition of “Dudus”) and nothing must be done to endanger his slim majority in Parliament (the resignation of Joe Hibbert and the holding of a by-election).

At some point the Prime Minister should consider whether he wanted to govern Jamaica so he could make the island safe for the rule of the dons, and ensure that the likes of Kern Spencer and Joseph Hibbert can sit in Parliament no matter how corrupt they are……..

And we, the voters, have to consider if sort-of-free-health-care and sort-of-free-education are enough reason to allow this deeply disappointing government to serve out a full term……..

Hurricane season : ‘Dudus’ Coke heads north ?

Hurricane Dean ushered Bruce Golding and the JLP into government in September 2007. Tropical Storm Gustav commemorated their first year in office. So far, knock on wood, the 2009 hurricane season has been particularly quiet.

Then, just as things seemed to be winding down to the usual end of summer back-to-school, money-have-to-spend and government-and teachers-must-quarrel, the U.S. authorities are treating us to a whirlwind of scandal, gossip and gambling by requesting that the JLP government of Bruce Golding render up JLP and Tivoli Gardens strongman, Christopher “Dudus” Coke unto the U.S. justice system, well known for eating up Jamaica’s bad men and spitting them out again five or ten years later, no harm done.

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Christopher “Dudus”Coke and his Plantation Heights yard

So how good a story is the requested extradition of “Dudus” ? Let’s see how it breaks down:-

(1) “Dudus” father, Lester Lloyd Coke aka “Jim Brown” died in a fire in his cell on February 23, 1991. He was due to be removed to the U.S. to face trial the following day. Among those who remember “Jim Brown”, everyone has their favourite theory as to who ordered the death of “Jim Brown” – e.g. some say he committed suicide; some say Seaga ordered his death to conceal his ties to the JLP; some say he was killed by his cronies who had no doubt that he would sing like a bird once he was in a U.S. prison.

So, can “Dudus” even survive to face trial in the U.S. ? And if he is to die, who gives the order this time ? Someone in Columbia ? Someone in the U.S. ? Someone in the upper echelons of the present government ?

(2) The history of the extradition treaty between Jamaica and the U.S. since 1991 is basically about JLP dons and a PNP government. Will things be different now that “Dudus'” M.P. and the M.P. for West Kingston is Bruce Golding, the Prime Minister of Jamaica?

(3) Why is “Dudus” Coke’s lawyer, JLP Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, sounding hesitant and unsure of his ground when discussing the matter with the pro-government team at Nationwide radio ?

Where is the brash, arrogant, take-no-prisoners Tom Tavares- Finson that we have come to know (if not to love )?

Can the JLP Senator be worrying that his client’s case is all too similar to that of Norris “Deedo” Nembhard (designated a drug kingpin by George Bush, Nembhard was extradited to the U.S. in 2008, and subsequently convicted on various charges) ? Is he worried that “Dudus” will suffer the same fate as Leebert Ramcharan ?

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Senator Tom Tavares-Finson

(4) Many, many times over the years we have heard that Jamaican criminals in U.S. prisons were going to sing like birds. Remember when Vivian Blake was going to ensure that dozens of Jamaican politicians and “well known businessmen” were discredited, arrested, extradited to the U.S.? Going to rot forever in an American jail ?

Instead, a mere 9 years after he received 28 years in prison, Vivian Blake is back home in Jamaica .

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(5) “Dudus” has supposedly got cover from “his” government. Under the PNP, this kind of “harassment” was par for the course. Nowadays, “Dudus” is a respectable businessman who is rewarded for his loyalty in the usual manner: a few government contracts here and there.

So, what will his “coverage” be worth ? Can Prime Minister Golding really hide “Dudus” from the U.S. authorities behind his government’s skirts ?

(6) The unofficial bookmakers are taking very big bets.

What are the odds on Christopher “Dudus” Coke being extradited alive to the U.S. ? 10 to 1 ? Or more like 100 to 1 ?

What are the odds on his extradition being delayed by the Senator? For one year ? For at least four years ?

So, what’s your take on this ? Where are you putting your money ?

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