JFJ Press Release: JFJ disappointed with Report submitted by the Manatt Commission

JFJ disappointed with Report submitted by the Manatt Commission

Kingston,Jamaica—–Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) expresses profound disappointment at the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Extradition Request for Christopher Coke.  JFJ reiterates firstly, its position that the Commissioners ought to have been chosen after joint consultation having regard to the mandate of the Commission.  Regrettably, this has only served to contribute to the skepticism of many Jamaicans as to the findings.

JFJ echoes the sentiments that the report is overall weak for the following reasons:-

i. having regard to their findings of ‘inappropriate” actions/behaviour they have failed to recommend any

sanctions for the relevant parties;

ii. in their finding that theJamaicaLabour Party (JLP) retained Manatt Phelps and Phillips (MPP) they failed to

examine the differing testimonies in this regard, for example, that of the Prime Minister and Dr. Ronald             Robinson and tell us which they found more believable and why;

iii. they have similarly failed to indicate out of the disparate nature of the  evidence given by the Minister of

Justice and Solicitor General which version they believed and why. This no doubt would have impacted

on a finding as to who retained Manatt, Phelps and Phillips and whether there may have been ‘ostensible’ consent of the Government in their retention.

iv. they have failed to indicate overall who they believe to be witnesses of  truth;

v. the Commissioners even where they find fault, for example, ‘lapses in memory’, have sought, to excuse the  behaviour on the basis of passage of time notwithstanding the serious nature of the information they were called upon to recall, which is unacceptable for persons holding the relevant positions they held/hold;

In instances where the Commissioners found that persons acted inappropriately they ought to have made recommendations as to what should be done in the future.  It would have been expected that some assistance would have been given as to how extradition requests should be treated and how the relevant departments ought to deal with an extradition requests.

After months of testimony from twenty witnesses and having regard to the range of issues, and the glaring inconsistencies in the evidence, JFJ is appalled that only four (4) recommendations have been made by the Commission.  Even more shocking is the fact that only two (2) of these recommendations had anything to do with the matter being considered by them.  Perhaps the most significant (but not novel) recommendation is that the roles of Attorney General and Minister of Justice be split.  The Commissioners have kept us in the dark, however, as to their rationale for this finding.

It is extremely regrettable that, faced with the growing cynicism of the Jamaican people and the pervasive feeling of lack of accountability and trust in governance structures in the country, and having regard to the amount of time and resources spent on the Commission, that the report is of such a low standard, lacking in detailed analysis and having a paucity of recommendations.