NEW YORK, USA — Expressing shock and indignation over Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s admitted involvement in the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips affair, Jamaicans here fear the matter will cause serious implications for their homeland.
Some, like Jose Richards who heads Concerned Patriots of Jamaica — an ad hoc group concerned about developments in their country — want the prime minister to resign.
Last Tuesday, Golding admitted in the Jamaican Parliament that he had sanctioned the Jamaica Labour Party’s engagement of United States law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to lobby the US administration in the ongoing extradition case of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, the reputed Tivoli Gardens don.
Most Jamaicans who spoke to the Sunday Observer here described the prime minister’s action as a betrayal of the oath of his office and an act that has tarnished the reputation of their country’s name here.
Sadie Campbell, who runs the People’s National Party affiliate, the Jamaica Progressive League, said “Jamaicans here have been forced to hang their heads in shame because of the prime minister’s action”.
Dion Thompson, a New Jersey nursing assistant, was livid and described the matter as “a most sordid affair”.
The most scathing attack came from the Concerned Patriots of Jamaica’s Richards who, in calling for Golding’s resignation, said the prime minister’s action has tarnished his homeland.
Already at odds with the Jamaican Government over the recent sale of Air Jamaica, and the current murder rate, Richards said Jamaican nationals here “are tired of performing damage control”, because of their Government’s actions.
He said that despite the admittance by the prime minister of his involvement in the matter, he did not “think Mr Golding was fully forthcoming”.
Some Jamaicans are also taking a more measured approach to the matter. Patrick Beckford of the Diaspora Board for the North East United States told the Sunday Observer that representatives of several Jamaican organisations in the Tri-State area — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — have called a meeting for Tuesday “to discuss this latest development and other troubling issues”, in their homeland.
Earl Mitchell, who heads the National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organisations, said he could not comment on the matter as he had not fully availed himself of all the facts.