THE Government today released the names of the persons who will be heading the Commission of Enquiry into the handling of the extradition request for former West Kingston strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke and the subsequent engagement of United States law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips.
The commission will be chaired by attorney-at-law Emil George QC. He will be assisted by retired permanent secretary Anthony Irons and attorney-at-law Donald Scharschmidt QC.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding last week announced the Government’s intention to establish the commission in response to pressure from the Opposition People’s National Party and a number of interest groups and individuals who have been calling for a Commission of Enquiry into both matters.
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips is the law firm Jamaica Labour Party affiliates reportedly hired, after being given approval by Golding to lobby the United States government on Coke’s behalf.
Prior to an admission by Golding in May this year that he had sanctioned the initiative, the Government had insisted that no arrangement was reached between itself and the firm. It, however, said that Solicitor General Douglas Leys met with representatives of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips at the invitation of attorney-at-law Harold Brady but merely for “exploratory discussions” contrary to what the firm said. It also said that any money which had changed hands was through a link between Brady and the firm.