Were Paulwell's rights violated?

Were Paulwell's rights violated?

Friday, November 08, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Every now and then something of interest pops up in the public domain that creates enough buzz to keep us talking, and oftentimes without a full grasp of the facts surrounding the issue. At present, the country is humming about the US visa revocation of Daryl Vaz, the minister of growth and job creation, and Phillip Paulwell, the Opposition shadow minister of mining and energy.

From the public utterances thus far it appears that these visas were revoked at different times; Vaz's revocation took place around October 8, 2019 and Paulwell's on October 15, 2019.

My concern goes beyond the revocation and pertains to the Minister of National Security Horace Chang making the announcement of the revocation of Paulwell's visa. Why was Chang furnished with the private information? Did he notify Paulwell that he was in possession of such information and seek his consent in making a public disclosure? Or, is it the case that Minister Chang, having been furnished with the information, decided to use it to gain political parity because Minister Vaz's visa had also been cancelled and made known to the public by Vaz himself. It should therefore be of concern to both Paulwell and the People's National Party that Minister Chang gained access to the information and was willing to make it public.

It could also be stated that the US Embassy furnished the information to Minister Chang and expected him to use it in such a manner. But if this is the procedure it allows for the neutrality of the embassy to be compromised and the parliamentary Opposition would be in its rights to seek audience with the US authorities here in Kingston to clarify the matter. It also begs the question as to whether Paulwell's rights had been violated in this process by Minister Chang.

Apart from the buzz surrounding the visa revocations, Minister Chang has some explaining to do as to what compelled him to reveal it without prior notification to Paulwell.

I hope that whatever is happening there is some plausible explanation and that we are not already seeing the first instance of the misuse of intelligence for political advantage.

Khadeem Gordon


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