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Portia to PM: Address Manatt disclosure

Published:Thursday | April 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller has again called for Prime Minister Bruce Golding to immediately address "the scandalous disclosure and corrupt practices of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and his Government".

The call came after JLP General Secretary and Minister of Trade and Commerce Karl Samuda on Tuesday admitted that unnamed persons within his party approached local attorney Harold Brady to engage the services of a United States law firm to resolve an explosive treaty dispute between the Jamaican and United States governments.

Simpson Miller, in a statement yesterday, said the admission by the Government raised more questions than it answered.

"The Government's assertions are seriously lacking in credibility and do not inspire trust," she said. "When issues such as this arise, statecraft and responsible leadership are required. The prime minister must now focus on the country's best interest, rather than narrow partisan shenanigans."

Simpson Miller also said the "scandal" was related to issues of foreign relations and the separation of government and party.

She asked how it could be that "persons within the Jamaica Labour Party were allowed to capture the authority of the Government of Jamaica in engaging Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and if the solicitor general of Jamaica was a part of the lobbying effort".

She also said Dr Ronald Robinson, the state minister for foreign affairs, who was named by Samuda as having a "brief social encounter" with Manatt representatives, played a compromising role in the affair.