Tue | Aug 22, 2017

US attack on lawyers derogatory

Published:Monday | May 1, 2017 | 5:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I take strong exception to an American official in Jamaica casting aspersions at the profession that I hold dear. To entertain suspicion of several local attorneys' involvement in the deadly multimillion-dollar advance fee, or lottery scam, does not justify the derogatory statement that could cause lawyers looking askance at each other; and members of the public wanting to know who they can trust with their business.

The legal profession in Jamaica exists to uphold the rule of law as a foundation for our democracy. If there are facts that lead to evidence of wrongdoing, these must be followed to a lawful end. What is discomfiting is for the representative of a friendly country to fire a shot across the bow of a friendly neighbour that has no potential for a nuclear response as is seen elsewhere.

NEED fOR ACTION

Lottery scamming is a two-faced monster that marauds both countries - one more so than the other. I call it greed. Where there is need for change and corrective action, both sides must say: Let it begin with me.

Naming the payment of money by a euphemism such as 'advance fee' does not launder the crime of reaping where you did not sow. It condemns him that gives and him that takes.

Perhaps the American official can tell us the profession of those who were fleeced. Otherwise, with friends like these ... ?

FRANK PHIPPS (QC)