Jamaicans in US welcome Manatt enquiry

NEW YORK, USA — Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s announcement of a commission of enquiry into the Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke/Manatt, Phelps & Phillips issue has resonated well with Jamaican nationals living here.

Individuals and organisations with Jamaican connections have mostly reacted positively to the announcement, which was made in Parliament on Tuesday.

Roy Davidson, who heads the National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO), said he personally welcomed the move “as a positive step”, and that it could help to unite and heal the country.

In his reaction, Marlon Hill, a Florida-based attorney who heads the Diaspora board for the southern United States — described the planned commission of enquiry as “one of the best tools available to build a culture of accountability”.

He said that for that reason, the announcement by the prime minister “must be welcomed in the national interest”.

But while applauding Golding’s move, Sadie Campbell, who runs the Jamaica Progressive League, said she hopes “it will be properly constituted, with clearly defined objectives that will benefit the country”.

For his part, Keith Smellie, head of the Ex-Correctional Officers’ Association of Jamaica, said the country can only benefit from the enquiry. He said that the Government had taken the correct decision to set up the enquiry, because “it had no choice as there are too many unanswered questions surrounding the issues”.

Support for the commission of enquiry has also come from head of the North East United States Diaspora board Patrick Beckford, who thinks it “will provide the country with the necessary hope of restoring integrity in public service”.

He said that he hopes that the commission of enquiry will be a “full-blown” one and that those charged with conducting the enquiry “will not be handcuffed, but will be given as broad a term of reference as needed to undertake the mission”.

One dissenting voice to the commission was publisher Patrick Maitland, who thinks the exercise “will serve no useful purpose”.

He said that given the economic state of the country, the enormous costs associated with commissions of enquiry and the fact that such events are merely talk shops, Government should concentrate on its crime-fighting and economic programmes.

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