Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, has insisted that her testimony on the extradition of Christopher "Dudus" Coke has been truthful, and that she has not made any error in the details.
Miss Lightbourne was the subject of intense cross examination Tuesday (March 8) by People’s National Party (PNP) lead attorney, K.D. Knight, as the Commission of Enquiry into the extradition continued at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Mr. Knight asked the Justice Minister whether she accepted Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Cole’s testimony that he did not speak to her over the phone in August, 2009.
“A gentleman spoke to me. A male voice spoke to me, I didn’t see to whom I was speaking,” she responded. “He came on and said he was Cole, so if he said it’s not him, I don’t know.”
The Justice Minister testified that she was having a telephone conversation with Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Lisa Palmer Hamilton, when she was told that Lt. Col. Cole wished to speak with her.
“So if Mr. Cole says he didn’t speak with you, he could be quite correct and you mistaken?” asked Mr. Knight. Miss Lightbourne, however, stuck to her testimony that she spoke with a man who identified himself as Lt. Col. Cole on the day in question and had no reason to question whether he wasn’t who he said he was.
“That conversation did take place, Mr. Commissioner,” she insisted.
Mr. Knight also asked Miss Lightbourne if she had any idea why Lt. Col. Cole would have spoken to her and then denied it.
“I believe it is, as I said to him, ‘you have no part in this process, you should not be involved at this stage,” she responded.
“Requests for extradition must be by diplomatic channel. He has no part to play in it at any stage, as far as I am concerned,” the Attorney General stated.
She also told the Commission that Lt. Col. Cole told her that he had a copy of the extradition request, even before she had received an authentic request through the diplomatic channels.
“Then I said to him, you’re not involved, you should not be. The procedure is wrong, it is being reversed…” Senator Lightbourne testified.
The Justice Minister also maintained, despite Mr. Knight’s insistence, that she was not aware of the involvement of U.S. law firm, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, until after it was raised in Parliament by Opposition MP, Dr. Peter Phillips. She also insisted that she was never informed that the law firm was retained by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
She said Solicitor General, Douglas Leys, told her he met with U.S. lawyers, following his December 2009 meeting in Washington D.C., but she wasn’t aware of the name of the firm until it was mentioned in Parliament in March 2010.
Miss Lightbourne is expected to be further cross examined on Thursday (March 10), when the Enquiry continues.
Attorney at Law, Hugh Small, asked when would Prime Minister Bruce Golding be required to give evidence, as any further delay may force him to cancel several international commitments.
“As things are going now it is apparent that in order to fulfil his desire to give evidence before the Commission of Enquiry, he may have to cancel international commitments that he has undertaken in his capacity as Prime Minister,” stated Mr. Small.
“These appointments include him meeting with his counterparts. It also has to deal with him taking advantage of diplomatic opportunities in the interest of the country, and it also has to deal with promotion of investments that will be of paramount importance to the economic welfare of all the Jamaican people,” Mr. Small added.
Chairman of the Commission, Emil George, said that the Prime Minister might be required to testify on Monday or Tuesday of next week.
CONTACT: ATHALIAH REYNOLDS