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LETTER OF THE DAY - What the dickens does PM know?

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I am particularly curious about the propensity of the People's National Party (PNP) President Portia Simpson Miller to be ignorant as to happenings within her party, including matters concerning the sources of the party's campaign funds.

It may be recalled that when Mrs Simpson Miller was asked by a news reporter in 2006 if the illicit Trafigura $31-million contribution to the party's 2007 general election campaign was returned, she directed the reporter to ask the PNP - the very party of which she was the president.

She apparently gave instructions for the party to return the money to Trafigura, after much criticism from the Jamaica Labour Party and some members of civil society, but seemingly did not care to check to confirm that her instructions were, in fact, carried out. To date, we still do not know for certain whether the tainted Trafigura campaign contribution was ever returned.

Fast-forward to 2012 when questions were put to Mrs Simpson Miller concerning the amount of campaign funds received from 'investment club' Olint, which subsequently was deemed a Ponzi scheme. Again, Mrs Simpson Miller has pleaded ignorance as to the party then receiving at least, but likely more than, US$1 million from Olint. The Turks & Caicos Islands confiscation order makes reference to a discrete US$2 million gift to the PNP, for which the PNP cannot yet provide confirmation.

PORTIA'S MODUS OPERANDI

One wonders whether this now all-too-familiar behaviour by Mrs Simpson Miller is a carefully calculated attempt to obfuscate and deflect blame and responsibility, or a natural tendency to be economical with the truth, which would deny her the moral authority and further erode that very 'trust deficit' in governance of which she has reminded us so conveniently.

Otherwise, but no less important, one would wonder whether Mrs Simpson Miller may actually not be au fait with such party happenings, either through disinterest on her part or via deliberate attempts by some elements within the party to keep her in such a state of apparent ignorance.

Regardless of what guides that tendency vis-á-vis her political party, such a conduct is particularly troubling, as it portends Mrs Simpson Miller's possibly similar management style of the affairs of the State in her capacity as prime minister.

KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER

sangstek@msn.com