KINGSTON — Attorney for the Jamaican Redevelopment Foundation (JRF), Sandra Minott-Phillips raised a number of issues regarding former Minister of Water and Housing.
Dr. Karl Blythe's credibility as a debtor, as the FINSAC Commission of Enquiry resuming hearings Thursday morning (August 4) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
Attorney for Dr. Blythe, Leonard Green, criticized Mrs. Minott-Phillips for insisting on focusing on Dr. Blythe’s record of personal debt, despite his acknowledgement that he owed the debts.
Chairman of the Commission, Worrick Bogle, agreed with Mr. Green that since Dr. Blythe did not deny owing the debts, there was no need to continue “flogging a dead horse”. However, Mrs. Minott-Phillips insisted on cross examining the former Minister on his debt record, especially a debt owed to the Workers Bank which ballooned from $900,000 to $5 million in no time
“He himself ran up significant debt, for which he has not made any payments, or certainly not made sufficient payment to discharge it,” she said.
“He has not only imperiled the properties he provided as security, but also the properties of others who provided security for these debts,” she went on.
“I think since what is here being sought from Dr. Blythe is his view of whether debtors were treated fairly or unfairly, then it is certainly relevant to the Commission of Enquiry to establish whether Dr. Blythe conducted himself and his business fairly or unfairly, or whether he behaved in a manner that was deserving of some treatment that he expected in relation to favourability, whereby he could just borrow money and expect that, because of his station, he would not have to repay,” she commented.
When Commissioner Bogle again pointed to Dr. Blythe’s acknowledgement of the debts, Mrs. Minott-Phillips suggested that the issue was not whether he owed money, but whether he was a credible witness.
“The point is not whether or not he owes the money. That is not in dispute. The point is, is he a witness that the Commission can rely on to establish whether FINSAC or the JRF treated debtors fairly or unfairly, and I am saying his character and his conduct are squarely an issue,” she stated.
The enquiry then broke for lunch
By BALFORD HENRY, JIS Reporter & Editor