President of the People’s National Party (PNP), Mark Golding, is welcoming the Privy Council decision as he believes it will enable the party to finally put the longstanding Trafigura Baheer matter to rest.
Golding in a statement released to the press on Monday argued that the issue has dragged on for too long since the incident took place 15 years ago.
Golding was responding to the ruling of the Privy Council on Monday, which stated that five PNP members must testify in open courts, in an investigation by authorities in the Netherlands, who are trying to find out the reason for a 2006 $31 million donation Trafigura made to the then PNP-led government.
Those at the centre of the investigations are former PNP president and Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, former chairman Robert ‘Bobby’ Pickersgill, former general secretary Colin Campbell, current chairman and vice president Phillip Paulwell and Norton Hinds.
The PNP states that the money was a gift from the company, which had an oil-lifting contract with the government, while the Netherland authorities believe it was a bribe, which is illegal in the Netherlands.
At the Privy Council, the PNP argued that the members are not compelled to cooperate with foreign states, the treaties have to be subjected to Jamaican laws, they knew nothing about the bribery allegations and they cannot provide further details to the Dutch authorities.
“I welcome this opportunity for information to be provided and for this matter to be disposed of, once and for all. The events concerned took place in 2006, which is 15 years ago and the delay in completing this mutual legal assistance process has dragged the matter out for far too long,” Golding said.
“The Dutch company which made the political donation is under investigation in the Netherlands for an alleged breach of Dutch law. No offence is alleged under Jamaican law and no one in the PNP is under investigation.
“The information requested by the Dutch authorities should now be provided without delay. Let the truth come out and let the chips fall where they may.
“I take this opportunity to reiterate that corruption will not be tolerated within the PNP under my leadership. Our party must consistently embrace, in word and in deed, the principles of honesty and integrity on which our noble movement was founded.
“It is what the Jamaican people want and expect of us and we must always strive to live up to their expectations,” Golding, who is an attorney-at-law, concluded.