Dear Sirs  

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls.  Who steals my purse steals trash...  But he that filches from me my good name , Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.

Shakespeare. Othello. Act 3, scene 3.  

In your Friday, May 24, 2019 article entitled 'Don't tell me what to do. KD Knight defends decision to represent former Petrojam GM.’

I noted with interest this quote: 

“I have been castigated by journalists (O'Brien Chang) for using legal skills to protect 'corrupt politicians', according to them, in Trafigura. I survived.” 


None of us have perfect memories. But I have racked my brains, and can't remember having said or written any such thing. I have on numerous occasions asked why the Trafigura court case is taking so long to be resolved, and why the parties involved are so reluctant to testify in open courts, as is the norm in this country. 

Considering the Dutch Trafigura bribery probe requested testimony from Jamaican politicians in 2011, the first judgement compelling open court testimony was handed down in 2013, and then upheld in 2018 - are these not reasonable questions?  


(The last public reference to the Trafigura court case I have seen was: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20180608/simpson-miller-pnp-officials-granted-leave-privy-council-challenge-trafigura 

'Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other senior officials of the People's National Party (PNP) in the Trafigura case have been given the go-ahead to take their case to the United Kingdom-based Privy Council...  

Atkinson says the applicants have 90 days within which to file an appeal...  

The lawyers for the PNP are challenging, among other things, a decision by the Supreme Court to make an order that Simpson Miller, Phillip Paulwell, Robert Pickersgill, Colin Campbell and Norton Hinds can answer questions in open court from Dutch investigators probing the $31 million donation to the PNP in 2006.  

That ruling was made by former Supreme Court judge Justice Lennox Campbell last June. 

Campbell's decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal following a challenge by the PNP officials.') 

Many questions are being raised these days from many quarters about alleged or actual public 'corruption'. Yet the public remains in the dark about the still unresolved - as far as we know - Dutch probe of 'Trafigura bribes in Jamaica'.

"Dutch investigators will question politicians in Jamaica about bribes allegedly received from multinational oil trader Trafigura, the prosecution service in The Hague said Tuesday. 

Trafigura “is suspected of having paid bribes to politicians in Jamaica,” Dutch prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP of a probe that started in 2007...  

De Bruin would not confirm a report in the daily Volkskrant newspaper that the company allegedly paid 466,000 euros (640,000 dollars) towards a politician’s re-election campaign in exchange for the extension of an oil contract."


For whatever reasons, National Integrity Agency (NIA) head Trevor Monroe, other NGOs, civil society, the private sector, the media, and both political parties all seem to have lost interest in the matter. 

Yet this case is about senior Jamaican politicians: 1) named in a foreign court as possible recipients of transnational bribery; 2) hence being possible co-conspirators in the breaking OECD laws; 3) repeatedly refusing and appealing court rulings to testify openly about the matter. It’s hard to imagine a more negative sequence for international perceptions of corruption in Jamaica. And nobody cares.

This widespread Trafigura apathy suggests again that the most effective method for Jamaican public figures to diffuse charges of ‘wrongdoing’, continues to be the old ‘9 day or 9 month or 9 year wonder’ strategy. Delay and delay and delay - whether legally or otherwise - until the voters and media and even supposed watch dogs just forget about the issue. 

Then skillful lawyers can boldly proclaim to the Court something like “these proceedings should be interred because they are dead!” Do Jamaican laws have some kind of expiry date? Is it true that in this country, justice delayed is truly justice denied?

The 'drag it out till the public gets bored to death' tactic seems to work wonderfully well for Jamaican politicians. The last MP to be incarcerated for corruption – and hence the last one who could truly be labelled ‘corrupt’ - was JAG Smith jr in 1990.

Lawyers get paid to keep people out of jail. So with their 100% success rate since then, our legal luminaries are definitely earning their fees from politically connected cases. Former Petrojam General Manager Floyd Grindley seems to have been taking notes, and who can blame him?

Still, ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Who is to say our marvelous ‘zero parliamentarians jailed since 1990’ record is not proof that Jamaica has the world’s most honest politicians?

Now some of us incorrigibly curious folks continue to wonder about Trafigura affair.

Why did the company wire 466,000 Euros to Jamaica? 

Since this was JA$38 million at the then going rate, why was only JA$31 million tracked going into the CCOC Association account, and only a 'chicken feed' JA$30 million transferred to SW Services?  

Was the money ever paid back to Trafigura as claimed? 

Why are the defendants so reluctant to testify about the matter in open court?

Was the appeal to the Privy Council filed, and if so what is the status of that appeal? And if not, why is the court order not being enforced? 

Why has everyone stopped asking these unanswered questions? Does not the Jamaican public deserve some definitive resolution about the Trafigura bribery case? 

Incidentally, none of our officials requested to testify are in any danger of being jailed, as nothing they are accused of was against Jamaicans laws. (There was talk about changing these laws, but to my knowledge it remained but that.) All our officials are accused of is conspiring with Trafigura to break Dutch and OECD laws against giving bribes to foreign governments. At most they face embarrassment, not incarceration.

No one could question K.D. Knight's right to represent whosoever he wishes, politicians or non-politicians, nor his proven and brilliant legal abilities. If a national ‘Who is the best lawyer in Jamaica’ poll was taken, his name would undoubtedly be near and perhaps – probably? - at the top of the list.

Yet why would Mr. Knight personalize my questions about the current status of the Trafigura case as being 'castigated by journalists (O'Brien Chang) for using legal skills to protect 'corrupt politicians'? A possible Freudian slip?  

At any rate I am kindly requesting that - unless perchance my memory is faulty and the Jamaica Observer or the esteemed Mr. Knight can supply proof that I have ever uttered or written the words attributed to me in said article - a public correction be made for the record.  

Yours Truly  

Kevin O'Brien Chang

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