KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday October 13, 2010 – The Jamaica Government is to establish a Commission of Enquiry into the handling of the extradition request for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, as well as the engagement of the US law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips in the matter.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding made the announcement yesterday, months after calls by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), and a number of interest groups and individuals for an investigation into both matters.
“The composition of the Commission and the more precise terms of reference will be announced shortly,” he said during yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives.
Golding said that he would be in touch with Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller, on the matter.
“As a matter of courtesy, I have kept her informed of matters that I consider warrant that level of communication. I think you will appreciate, however, that ultimately the buck stops somewhere,” he added.
Coke was extradited to the United States in June, after waiving his right to an extradition hearing in Jamaica.
The former resident of Tivoli Gardens, a stronghold of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), was wanted by the American authorities on alleged drug and gun running charges. The Golding administration had initially refused an extradition request on the grounds that the evidence obtained by the US to support the extradition was obtained through illegal wiretapping.
Prime Minister Golding had initially denied that Manatt, Phelps and Phillips had been hired by the government to lobby on Coke’s behalf, but later said it was his party and not the government that hired the firm.