Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Golding done with ‘Dudus’ distraction

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MONTEGO BAY, St James – Prime Minister Bruce Golding says he will no longer be distracted by his critics over his handling of the Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke extradition.“I won’t be distracted by the extradition issue anymore,” Golding told scores of cheering Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters on Sunday at the party’s North West St James constituency conference in Montego Bay.Golding, who is also leader of the ruling JLP, argued that the attacks on him were not about the performance of the economy, neither were they about the Government’s drive to reduce crime.“Instead, they want to know about extradition and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. But let me make one thing clear . . . . I am not allowing anything to distract me anymore from the work that I will have to do,” he said. Golding was making reference to his shocking disclosure in Parliament in early May that he had sanctioned the hiring of American law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to lobby the United States on extradition matters, contrary to what the public was led to believe in his earlier utterances. The delay in signing the extradition request for Coke, which was made by the United States last August, had strained relations between the two countries. But after several months of foot dragging and amidst public pressure, Attorney-General and Justice Minister Senator Dorothy Lightbourne in May finally gave the authority to proceed on the United States’ extradition request for Coke to answer to charges related to drug-trafficking and gun running.   Several organisations, including the opposition People’s National Party and the National Democratic Movement, had called on the prime minister to resign, saying that he had lost the confidence of the Jamaican people. But Golding, in lashing his critics on Sunday, emphasised that he was “only accountable to the Jamaican people”. (Jamaica Observer)

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