(Jamaica Gleaner) The Jamaican government is being tight-lipped about allegations that the wife of Prime Minister Bruce Golding tried to present the extradition request for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke as a conspiracy against her husband and his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration.
Lorna Golding is reported to have done so during a meeting at her house with a United States Embassy official in Kingston last December, according to the latest United States diplomatic cable released by whistleblower media outfit WikiLeaks and carried in a report by the Guardian newspaper on Thursday.
The cable sent on December 14 of last year by the US Embassy in Kingston, reported that Mrs Golding — during a meeting she initiated at her house with the embassy official — said she believed that the US was being influenced by People’s National Party (PNP) sympathisers regarding the Coke extradition.
“Although it appears unlikely that Mrs Golding was delivering a message on behalf of the PM, Mrs Golding’s rambling comments and penchant for sharing conspiracy theories with a key member of the US Embassy community is consistent with a growing sense among many of indecisiveness and a lack of direction on the part of the PM and the JLP,” said the cable.
She allegedly said that the congressman, influenced by PNP elements in the Jamaican Diaspora in the US, had sought to influence a senior US White House official to ‘downgrade’ the JLP administration. On Wednesday, efforts to contact the prime minister’s wife at her St Andrew residence proved futile. An officer at the Communication Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister, when quizzed as to a response from the Government on the issue, told the Observer that she was “just about to hold discussions” with Government officials “on how to handle the matter” and advised the paper to call back in an hour. However, an hour later the Observer was told that the individual was occupied and could “not come to the phone right now”. WikiLeaks is an international new media non-profit organisation that publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct.
In the meantime, the cable also said the prime minister’s wife blamed the ‘Dudus’ issue for the White House’s delay in naming a new ambassador and the GOJ’s difficulties in finalising a Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The cable added that Mrs Golding was unprepared for the meeting, “could not stay on message, and had no apparent talking points or agenda.”
It said she was “apparently unaware that, earlier in the week, the Office of the Prime Minister had released a statement to the press indicating that the delay in naming an ambassador was due to the White House’s preoccupation with other matters” and was “unrelated to the extradition request”.
The US has since named its ambassador to Kingston and an IMF pact is now in place, both following the extradition of Coke.
The cable also noted that Mrs Golding insisted that she had invited the US embassy official on her own initiative and that the PM, although aware of the meeting, hadn’t put her up to it.
It also alleged that the prime minister “dropped in for some small talk” during the meeting.