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Outright lies and half-truths

Published:Thursday | April 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir

In the aftermath of Tuesday's opening presentation in the 2010-2011 Budget Debate by Finance Minister Audley Shaw, fundamentally divergent assessments were proffered by two of Jamaica's eminent economic/financial analysts. On the one hand, Ralston Hyman gave a damning assessment in describing Mr Shaw's presentation as one of the worst ever. On the other hand, Dr Adrian Stokes of Scotia DBG, opined that Mr Shaw's presentation was one of the better ones he has heard.

Both analysts may have good reason for coming to their various positions, but a punch-drunk public must be interested in establishing the "truth of the matter", and how that truth is going to impact the life and well-being of the ordinary man in the short and medium term.

A similar conundrum confronts the nation in relation to the impasse between the Bruce Golding administration and the United States (US) government over the extradition of West Kingston strongman, Christopher 'Dudus' Coke. A dwindling coterie of government apologists have advanced every conceivable reason why the extradition request cannot be granted while, on the other hand, an interestingly disparate throng have mustered one voice in agitating for the expeditious determination of the merits of the request through the local courts, a path ostensibly passively resisted by the Government.

Diametrically opposite

Again, the positions are virtually diametrically opposite, and sections of the population must be bewildered, as the truth in these matters is not always clear-cut or readily apparent.

The fear and apprehension levels in the society over the likely backlash locally should Mr Coke be sent to the US are palpable. People speak in hushed tones mindful of risk to life and limb. The truth shall set you free, it is claimed. Many still yearn for this freedom. The intriguing misspeak between Information Minister Daryl Vaz, and attorney Harold Brady over the seemingly connected Manatt, Phelps & Phillips issue has left many feeling that the truth is going to be the first casualty as spin doctors of whatever hue ply their trade in desperate attempts to save the skins of their political masters.

Whether it is the real impact of the tabled Budget, or the Dudus extradition cum Manatt, Phelps & Phillips affairs, the Jamaican people need the truth. Perhaps it is time for credible, dispassionate and objective think tanks and advocacy groups to assume centre stage and help us all navigate this web of truth, half-truths and outright lies. It appears that voices once strident have slithered curiously into self-imposed oblivion. Like oil on water, the truth will soon emerge triumphantly, and an underbelly of deception by those from whom we expect better is going to be exposed.

I am, etc.,