Former Jamaican PM given leave to appeal to UK Privy Council

Simpson-Miller may face PNP leadership challenge
Former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller

The Court of Appeal Friday granted leave to former prime minister Portia Simpson Miller and other senior officials of the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) to take the so-called Trafigura matter to the London-based Privy Council – Jamaica’s highest court. 

In February, the Appeal Court had reserved judgment in the application filed by lawyers representing the former prime minister 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 J$31 million donation to the PNP in 2006.

Dutch firm Trafigura Baheer made the donation to the PNP while the Jamaican government had an oil-lifting agreement with the company.

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Dutch firms are prohibited from making donations to foreign governments and Dutch investigators want Simpson Miller and the other PNP officials to answer questions in public about the donation.

Attorney Patrick Atkinson, who is among the attorneys representing thr PNP officials, said the court’s decision is based on a matter of rights under Section 110 of the Constitution that stipulates that the Court of Appeal may grant leave to the Privy Council where, in its opinion, the question involved in the appeal is one that, by reason of its great general or public importance or otherwise, ought to be submitted to Her Majesty in Council.

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