Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, has testified that within 10 days of receipt of the extradition request for Christopher Coke, he was informed by Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, that there were difficulties with the request.
Cross examined by People’s National Party (PNP) lead counsel, K.D. Knight, the Prime Minister said that, based on information he received from the Justice Ministry, his impression was that the United States’ Government was being “tough” and “inflexible” with the Jamaican government on the extradition issues.
Mr. Knight asked the Prime Minister, whether the Justice Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade requested his assistance in dealing with the problems.
Mr. Golding said not at that time, but went on to explain that, based on what was reported to him, he recognised clearly that the Government would have difficulties resolving the issues. He said he, therefore, took it upon himself to seek to overcome those difficulties.
“Based on the discussions that took place between the representatives of the Government of Jamaica, and the United States through its Embassy officials here, it was very clear to me that the United States was taking a very tough, inflexible and obstinate (position),” he told the Commission.
“I was also very mindful of the fact that, because this request involved Christopher Coke and, because of the high media temperature that attended that issue, this was not an issue that we could afford to leisurely meander our way through normal diplomatic channels, to try to resolve. This was a matter that needed to be resolved as a matter of urgency,” Mr. Golding added.
The Prime Minister is expected to be further cross examined on Friday (March 25) when the Commission resumes at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Attorney FOR the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Lord Anthony Gifford, revealed that a book which records the signatures of persons entrusted with extradition documents had been located. On Tuesday, Consultant Adviser to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Marcia Beverley, said the book was missing since August last year.
Lord Gifford told the Commission on Thursday, that the book had been located by persons at the Ministry of Justice, who have since turned over a number of photocopied pages to the enquiry.
On one page, dated August 25, 2009, according to Lord Gifford, it is seen where Deputy DPP, Jeremy Taylor, had in fact signed for extradition documents at the Ministry of Justice.Mrs. Beverley had given evidence that a police officer signed for the documents, and not Mr. Taylor.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter