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Golding resolute! PM refuses to withdraw 'harassment' comment

Published:Saturday | April 2, 2011 | 12:00 AM

PRIME MINISTER Bruce Golding yesterday refused to withdraw a claim he made in testimony that the conduct of Chargé d'Affaires of the United States Isiah Parnell constituted harassment.

Golding was invited to withdraw the comment by Patrick Atkinson - attorney for former National Security Minister Peter Phillips - who informed Golding that the charge of 'telephone harassment' was a serious criminal offence in the United States.

The United States has indicated that it will be responding to claims made by witnesses following the conclusion of the enquiry.

Atkinson: "Are you prepared to withdraw the comment?"

Golding: "No. We were told not to allow diplomatic officials to parade through the Government unless it's in relation to a particular matter."

The prime minister argued that Parnell refused to follow the accepted procedures. "You speak to the Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," Golding asserted.

He said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne was troubled by Parnell's conduct. "He was presumptuous enough to tell her how that authority should be exercised. Jamaica couldn't do that with the United States."