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Dismiss Lightbourne, says PNP

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE OPPOSITION People's National Party (PNP) has called for the immediate resignation or dismissal of Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne, as the party turns up the heat on the Government in the unfolding Manatt, Phelps & Phillips debacle.

At the same time, the PNP wants the Public Service Commission (PSC) to take appropriate action against Solicitor General Douglas Leys for his involvement in the Manatt saga.

A representative of Manatt was allowed to sit in on a meeting between Leys and United States Department of State officials in December as they discussed treaty matters believed to be related to the extradition request for West Kingston strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

Lightbourne at centre

Speaking yesterday during a press conference at PNP headquarters in St Andrew, Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller charged that Lightbourne stood at the centre of the United States-Jamaica extradition-treaty dispute.

Noting that the minister was a senior member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) hierarchy, Simpson Miller said: "We are, therefore, entitled to ask, as minister and a highly placed person within the JLP, what did she know, and when did she know it?"

Lightbourne broke her silence on the extradition/Manatt affair in a radio interview last Wednesday. During that interview, the justice minister said she first heard the name Manatt, Phelps & Phillips when Dr Peter Phillips, chairman of the PNP's communi-cations commission, raised the issue in Parliament on March 16.

Simpson Miller said Lightbourne's assertion was shocking.

"With all the meetings that would have been required to be held with the Government and within the party on this highly sensitive issue ... it is beyond belief that the minister of justice could have been briefed only about an unnamed firm," she said.