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TIMELINE: The Cuban light bulb trial

Published: Monday March 24, 2014 | 10:50 am Comments 0
From left: Colleen Wright, attorney K.D. Knight and Kern Spencer. - File
From left: Colleen Wright, attorney K.D. Knight and Kern Spencer. - File

The keenly-watched Cuban light bulb trial has been before the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court for almost five years. Former junior energy minister Kern Spencer and his former personal assistant Colleen Wright have been on corruption charges arising from the distribution of free Cuban light bulbs that ended up costing taxpayers just over $276 million dollars.

Gleaner Reporter, Livern Barrett has reviewed his notes and compiled this timeline:

October 23, 2007
Questions first surfaced about the Cuban light bulb programme when Energy Minister, Clive Mullings told the House of Representatives that the
previous People’s National Party administration racked up a bill for more than $276.5 million for the distribution of over four million free light
bulbs donated by the Cuban government.



November 7, 2007
Kern Spencer, then junior minister with responsibility for the project, openly wept in Parliament after Mullings informed the House that the police Fraud Squad and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had been
asked to investigate the matter.

READ: Kern wept - Former State Minister jolted by Cuban bulb saga

February 4, 2008
Contractor General Greg Christie released the findings of a probe by his office, which pointed to several breaches of government procurement
guidelines and legislative provisions. Christie also called for the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Corruption Prevention Commission to determine whether criminal and corruption charges should be laid against the junior energy minister, Kern Spencer.



February 26, 2008
Spencer, Colleen Wright, his former personal assistant, and businessman Rodney Chin arrested on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to
defraud and breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act

February 29, 2008
Spencer is released on bail after spending two nights behind bars.

March 19, 2008
The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, the state-owned company that financed the light bulb project, announced that Rodney Salmon, its director of administration and corporate secretary, had been relieved of his duties as a result of the light bulb saga.

December 22, 2008
Prosecutors write to Spencer’s attorneys informing them that they would not proceed with the case against Chin and that he would become a witness for the Crown.



January 21, 2009
Prosecutors formally enter a nolle prosequi against Rodney Chin in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate Court, dismissing all charges.

June 22, 2009
The trial of Spencer and Wright commences in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate Court before Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey.



April 12, 2010
The trial took a major turn when Chin revealed, under cross-examination by Spencer’s then attorney Patrick Atkinson, that he met with Llewellyn and police investigators at the offices of his attorney in 2009 and was interviewed and notes taken.

April 12, 2010
Defence attorneys serve Llewellyn with subpoena to obtain information about what transpired at the meeting. The Magistrate also orders Llewellyn to remain out of court during Chin's testimony.

April 13, 2010 – September 3, 2013
Trial is placed on hold as Llewellyn applies to the Judicial Review Court to quash Pusey’s order

February 25, 2014
Prosecution closes its case against Spencer

WATCH: ERICA'S EDGE ... Jamaican johncrows (commentary)


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