JIS News

The Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Information, the Hon. Daryl Vaz today said that the story carried on Sunday in the Gleaner concerning the Manatt, Phelps and Phillips (MPP) issue has not revealed anything of substance that has not been publicly stated previously by the Prime Minister.
Minister Vaz reiterated the position of the Government that the Government did not engage in any contract with MPP. The Prime Minister gave the party explicit approval to engage with MPP and made it clear that this was not an engagement with the Government of Jamaica.
In making specific reference to an email written by Mr. Harold Brady in which mention is made to “Briefing the Prime Minister”, Minister Vaz said that it was erroneous for the Gleaner to have relied on this email as proof of an official Government of Jamaica engagement. Minister Vaz emphasized that this email was written by Mr. Brady and not by the Solicitor General.
Minister Vaz said that Prime Minister Golding has always maintained that the engagement of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips was an undertaking of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and not that of the Government of Jamaica. Nothing in the Gleaner’s story and indeed any of the emails has challenged this position.
Minister Vaz pointed out that in the Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament on May 11, 2010, he said:
“From the investigations that I have made, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips were led to believe that Mr. Brady was acting for the Government of Jamaica rather than the Jamaica Labour Party and that their engagement was authorized by the Government of Jamaica.”
“Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has relied on these meetings between its representatives and government officials and the email correspondence to which I have referred as authentication that it was acting on behalf of the Government of Jamaica. However, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Harold Brady is not a consultant to the government and was never authorized to act on behalf of the government or to engage the services of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to so act. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips registered the Government of Jamaica as its client without the knowledge of the Government or without the appropriate authorization of the Government.”
Issues The newspaper article has also pointed to the following issues:The first email contact between the Solicitor General and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips of September 19, 2009:
The existence and content of this email is not a new issue. The Prime Minister in his Statement to Parliament on May 11, 2010, acknowledged that:
“from as far back as September, Mr. Brady had contacted the Solicitor General to discuss issues relating to the extradition request. These discussions included e-mail correspondence sent to Mr. Brady, at an e-mail address provided by him, which it was subsequently discovered, is an address belonging to Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. The correspondence related to issues concerning the extradition request which the Government of Jamaica had raised with the US Government.”
This statement is also supported by the Solicitor General’s letter to the Gleaner of August 18, 2010, wherein he states that he was unaware at the time he sent this email to Mr. Brady that it was not Mr. Brady’s personal email address.
Emails regarding Press Release drafted by Manatt, Phelps and Phillips December 28, 2009 onwards:Again the existence and content of these emails is not a new issue. The Prime Minister, in his statement to Parliament on May 11, 2010 said:
“Mr. Speaker, it has already been acknowledged that the Solicitor-General and other government officials who went to Washington in December for a meeting with officials of the State and Justice
Departments met with representatives of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips at the invitation of Mr. Brady. It has also been acknowledged that a representative of the firm offered and was allowed to attend the scheduled meeting with the State and Justice Departments officials but, of significance, took no part in the discussions.”
“In discussions between the Solicitor-General and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips following the meeting with the State Department and Justice Department, it was suggested that a draft release be prepared on the outcome of the meeting. Email correspondence ensued between the Solicitor-General and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips on the contents of the release but the issuing of the release was eventually not pursued.”
“The emails had to do with setting up a conference call to discuss the contents of the draft release. And the conference call, I am told, lasted fifteen minutes. A representative of Manatt made some suggestions. There were some amendments made. The decision was eventually taken not to pursue it primarily because time had elapsed. The meeting was the 17th December and by the time all the connections were made and the conference call took place, so many days had passed we were virtually into Christmas and, therefore, the issuing of the release was not pursued. It was to have been a release that we would have put to the US Government to see whether or not it could be a joint release from both governments arising out of the meeting that was held on 17th December.”
In his letter to the Gleaner, on August 18, 2010, the Solicitor General stated that:
“I was prepared after my meeting to recommend to the Hon. Attorney General that MPP was a firm whose services we could definitely use in the future to advise the Government on legal issues in future anticipated negotiations.it was in this in this context that the firm offered to draft a joint press release intended to be distributed the following week as to the outcome of the meeting.”
To reiterate what the Prime Minister further said in Parliament:
“I will challenge anybody, including those who I know have access to information, to produce one document from an appropriate officer in the Government of Jamaica, whether the Attorney-General, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, myself or the Solicitor-General, any document, that represents a formal engagement of this legal firm by the Government of Jamaica.”
In light of these statements made publicly in Parliament more than three months ago, the email correspondence published by the Gleaner newspaper on Sunday contains nothing materially new.
In dismissing the Gleaner’s claims, Minister Vaz also reiterated the Prime Minister’s previous statements that he acknowledges that the “Manatt affair” was a mistake, and sincerely regrets the negative effects that have resulted.

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