Tag Archives: Tivoli

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)

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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: 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.