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The unfolding of the Manatt saga - What the Gov't has said ...

Published:Thursday | May 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM
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THE BRUCE Golding administration's position on the alleged contractual arrangement between the Government and the United Sates-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has gone through metamorphoses over the past eight weeks, leaving Jamaicans as confused today as they were eight weeks ago.

Glaring concerns arose after the role of the solicitor general in the entire episode came to light.

Here is what Prime Minister Golding said about the solicitor general's entrance into the issue in a March 18 release:

"I am advised that in December, while on a flight to Washington, DC, for a meeting with the US State Department and Justice Departments, the solicitor general was approached by Mr Harold Brady, who made reference to the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

"He stated that this firm had represented the Government of Jamaica in the past and suggested that they could provide assistance in relation to the treaty issues between Jamaica and the USA."

That is in stark contrast to what Golding told Parliament on Tuesday, May 11:

"Mr Brady, from as far back as September, had contacted the solicitor general to discuss issues relating to the extradition request. These discussions included email correspondence sent to Mr Brady at an email address provided by him which, it was subsequently discovered, is an address belonging to Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. The correspondence related to issues concerning the extradition request which the Government of Jamaica had raised with the US government."

Against this background, The Gleaner provides a timeline of the major announcements from the administration.

March 16, 2010

An angry Golding responding to Dr Peter Phillips:

"Let me make it quite clear. The Government of Jamaica has not engaged any legal firm, any consultant, any entity whatsoever, in relation to any extradition matter other than deploying the resources that are available within the Attorney General's Department, who has a duty and a responsibility to guide the Government in these matters."


March 17, 2010

Attorney-at-law Harold Brady under pressure:

"It was an error through a footnote which was corrected last year."

"This issue is not to be confused with another that is on the table."


March 17, 2010

A defiant Information Minister Daryl Vaz:

"The Government has no contractual arrangement with Mr Brady, Harold Brady & Company or any other private law firm in relation to the current extradition matter."


March 18, 2010

Golding's initial movement:

"Further to my statement in Parliament on Tuesday, I have made investigations to ascertain whether the Government has had any connection with the US law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

"I am advised that in December, while on a flight to Washington, DC, for a meeting with the US State Department and Justice Departments, the Solicitor General was approached by Mr Harold Brady, who made reference to the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

"He stated that this firm had represented the Government of Jamaica in the past and suggested that they could provide assistance in relation to the treaty issues between Jamaica and the USA."


March 24, 2010

Vaz's report:

Vaz announces that Brady had submitted documents to the Cabinet, which he claimed confirmed that the error, which indicated that Manatt was working on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, had been corrected.

Vaz said the information submitted by Brady had been passed to the solicitor general.


March 26, 2010

A still defiant Vaz:

"I want to categorically state and challenge anybody to bring forward any documentation to support the claim that the Jamaican Govern-ment entered into any contract, with any party, outside of the attorney general, who is our legal adviser."


March 28, 2010

Solicitor general goes public:

Douglas Leys admits that he was approached by Brady to engage the services of the law firm months before the December plane ride reported by Golding.


April 7, 2010

Vaz goes on the offensive against Brady:

"I can't tell you what action is being considered ... but I'm sure that you will hear after everything is perused as to what the actions are, if any."


April 7, 2010

Vaz announces that Samuda is entering the fray:

"Because, obviously, this matter has implications both ways."


April 8, 2010

Brady hints at JLP members involvement:

"Knowing what he knows and knowing that I know what he knows ... He is either daft or he needs to have his head examined," Brady said in a radio interview in reference to Vaz.


April 27, 2010

The first official link of JLP members to Manatt:

"In September of last year, persons within the JLP approached Mr Brady to see whether, through his wide network of international contacts, he could assist in facilitating the opening of discussions between the United States authorities and the Government of Jamaica, and thereby seek to resolve what had become a treaty dispute between the US and Jamaica.

"The solicitor general and the team that accompanied him met with represen-tatives of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips at Mr Brady's invitation.

"The discussions were exploratory and were focused on alternative approaches that have been taken in similar treaty disputes with the US.

"As regards media reports that a Minister of Government met with state officials and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Dr Ronald Robinson, minister of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, while on a visit to Washington on November 20, 2009, had a brief social encounter with a representative of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips after having declined an invitation by Mr Harold Brady to attend a meeting at the State Department."

- A release from Karl Samuda


April 27, 2010

Lightbourne distances herself:

"The first time I heard the name of this law firm was when Dr Phillips raised the issue in Parlia-ment," Light-bourne said in an interview on Nationwide 97 FM.


May 11, 2010

Golding's bombshell:

"I sanctioned the initiative, knowing that such interventions have in the past proven to be of considerable value in dealing with issues involving the governments of both countries. I made it clear, however, that this was an initiative to be undertaken by the party, not by or on behalf of the government.

"Mr Brady, from as far back as September, had contacted the solicitor general to discuss issues relating to the extradition request. These discussions included email correspon-dence sent to Mr Brady at an email address provided by him which, it was subsequently discovered, is an address belonging to Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

"The correspondence related to issues concerning the extradition request which the government of Jamaica had raised with the US government.

"Dr Ronald Robinson, minister of state in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and deputy general secretary of the JLP, while on a private visit to Washington, was invited by Mr Brady to attend a meeting at the State Department but declined to do so.

"He did, however, attend an informal meeting between Mr Brady and a representative of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips on November 20 to discuss the matters in relation to which the firm had been retained."