Don't tell me what to do
KD Knight defends decision to represent former Petrojam GMFriday, May 24, 2019
Veteran attorney and Opposition Senator KD Knight is stoutly defending his firm's decision to represent former Petrojam General Manager Floyd Grindley in a wrongful dismissal claim made against the State oil refinery.
Eyebrows were apparently raised within People's National Party (PNP) circles when news emerged this week that the firm Knight Junor and Samuels had sent a demand letter to Petrojam on behalf of Grindley, who is seeking compensation of close to $40 million for wrongful dismissal and reputational damage.
Grindley, who was appointed after the current Government came to office, was separated from the scandal-tainted company in July 2018 with a settlement of $7.9 million. The net payout, though, was $5.23 million, far less than the $15.2 million paid to Yolande Ramharrack, former human resource manager, who was reportedly unqualified for the job and who was facing a range of disciplinary charges when she left the company.
Senator Knight, in a message posted in a WhatsApp group, told Comrades that he was accustomed to hostile reactions to his decisions.
Said Knight, who is also a former Cabinet minister in previous PNP administrations: “My representation of Floyd Grindley is causing some vitriolic angst to be directed at me by certain Comrades. I am accustomed to it.
“It started in 1980 when, as junior to the late Huntley Munroe, I went to Old Harbour Court to apply for bail for a top-ranking officer of the PNP charged with gun offences. Labourites wanted to harm us. Frankie Williams will remember. And some PNP questioned my sincerity in talking publicly against gun violence. I survived.
“In about 1983 Comrades castigated me for defending Shorty in the Immaculate High School murder case. I had to leave a social event in Cherry Gardens because of hostility. I survived.
“I have been castigated by journalists (O'Brien Chang) for using legal skills to protect 'corrupt politicians', according to them, in Trafigura. I survived.
“I was abused on radio over and over again by JLP, and face to face by some PNP, for defending Kern Spencer. I survived.
“I defended Ossie Harding in a civil fraud case and some PNP told me I should not have. I survived.
“Believe me, I have never told a Dr not to treat a patient because the person is wicked or atrocious, nor have I told a banker not to have as a client an allegedly corrupt member of this Administration. So what makes me so important that I should have to consult with such professionals as to whom I can represent!?
“In 2010-11 when Hugh Small, as a former minister and known PNP, represented Bruce Golding I never heard these voices. And when the word was that individual lawyers charged and were paid $2M per week for 10 weeks to represent their clients, and the PNP, through Dr Phillips, halfway through the matter, provided my team with $2 million to be divided amongst five lawyers over the 10 weeks we didn't shirk our responsibilities.
“And in Trafigura we at my firm didn't hold back in spending over $1 million of our own money to provide Court bundles for lawyers and judges, and free legal services. No Doctor nor banker made any offer to help, let alone pay fees. We did the work!
“FG [Floyd Grindley] didn't come to us as PNP lawyers. He came to us because he thinks we are amongst the best.
“None of the critics seek our legal advice. But some ask for the political help of John Junor and myself whilst we buy our own gas. And we never hesitate to assist in our own humble way. We are not a PNP law firm. We are lawyers who happen to be PNP. That I am a senator appointed by the PNP leader doesn't make me a PNP lawyer. I am a lawyer and I am PNP. The PNP doesn't pay me nor my staff.”
Knight also made personal references to fellow Comrades Dr Dayton Campbell and Patricia Sutherland, asking: “Dayton, if (former Energy Minister Andrew) Wheatley came to you for medical treatment would you refuse to treat him?
“Patricia, if (Daryl) Vaz or (Andrew) Holness came to open an account at JMMB would you refuse them? Would either of you consult me before deciding what to do?
“And who amongst the others would consult me before engaging with a Labourite? None !!!!!!!
“Whether or not I represent FG I can speak out against corruption. And I will continue to do so!!!! Whether I am a senator or not I will have a voice in Jamaica!
“FG and others consult us because they require legal services, and thank God enough others do so, otherwise we would have to dismiss our staff, seek free medical treatment, borrow from financial institutions (if any would lend us), and exist off legal aid cases.
“BREAKING NEWS: Look out for another bombshell.
“If the PNP is set to reject me, lo I will turn to the Independents.
“But then again, I was PNP when the going was rough, and I remain PNP until I die.
“For those who understand my hurt, much thanks.
“Love still, KDK.”