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Opposition pressing for Dudus extradition inquiry

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has reiterated its call for an independent commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke to the United States after a local attorney has contradicted earlier statements made by Prime Minister Bruce Golding on the issue.
“I think that the country deserves to get the truth and that truth can’t come from people who have an interest in the matter …and that’s why we need an independent commission of inquiry,” said PNP Chairman, Dr. Peter Phillip.
According to documents filed with the Supreme Court, attorney Harold Brady, who has filed a defamation suit against Prime Minister Golding, has outlined the process through which the US law firm, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips (MPP) become involved in the matter.
Prime Minister Golding has said that his administration did not hire the company to lobby US officials on the extradition of Coke, who is now in a United States  jail awaiting trial on drug trafficking and gun running charges.
Golding has insisted that it was the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) that had engaged the company.
But Brady’s attorneys are saying that Prime Minister Golding “instructed him (Brady) to agree to MPP terms but to ensure as best as possible, that the Government did not appear to be involved”.
Brady is reported to have informed the Prime Minister in the presence of his Information Minister Daryl Vaz that he could only engage MPP if he were a government representative.
Brady, a long standing member of the JLP, has denied that he breached any instructions he received from the Prime Minister. According to the court documents, Brady states that the law firm, based on Golding’s instructions, facilitated discussions between the US State Department and the Government of Jamaica on Coke’s extradition.
So far there has been no response from Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Meanwhile, the JLP general secretary Karl Samuda has hinted that he is no longer seeking re-election to the post.
Samuda, who has held the position since 2003, said that in the wake of recent developments regarding the involvement of the US law firm in the extradition issue, he believes his continued presence is needed. “I have served this party for 45 years and quite frankly at this moment I am seriously looking at the situation, I am going to think long and hard on it”.
He said his decision not to seek re-election was very difficult.
“… this was not something that I took lightly , but the fact of the matter is that circumstances alter cases,” he added. (CMC)