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Politicians react to being named on Olint's gift list

Published:Tuesday | May 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Two prominent local figures last night moved swiftly to either clarify or distance themselves from fresh claims outlined in a court document that they received millions of dollars in donations from convicted Olint boss David Smith.

Former Information Minister Daryl Vaz, who is listed as getting US$50,000, said the revelation was nothing new as he had already admitted receiving what he described as a political contribution from Smith.

"It was not a personal contribution, but a political contribution to the constituency," said Vaz, the member of parliament for West Portland.

He said his name was listed separately from his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to make the distinction between his roles then as deputy treasurer and parliamentary candidate.

Vaz also defended the decision to accept the donation, pointing out that at the time it was made, Olint was a legal entity in both Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).

Despite this, the former minister said his next move would be guided by his attorneys and the law.

Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, who is reported to have received US$1 million, issued a statement denying the claim made in a confiscation order issued by the Supreme Court of the TCI.

"I deny categorically ever soliciting or receiving any such gift," Patterson said in a statement released last night.

Examining US$5m claim

The JLP, in a two-sentence statement, acknowledged that Olint/Smith were among many contributors to its campaign leading up to the general election in 2007.

However, the party said it was "examining the claim that US$5 million was donated to the party".

Up to last night, there was no response from the People's National Party which, according to the document, received a gift of US$2 million from Olint.

According to the document, Smith has been ordered to pay US$21 million, or the value of his realisable property, and the total of the value of his tainted gifts, by October 24.