Black Immigrant Daily News
This week’s featured development as Newsmaker of the Week just ended is the arrest and charge of 56-year-old Robert Chin, a brother of Member of Parliament (MP) for North West Manchester, the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Mikael Phillips, on cocaine charges.
The emphasis by Phillips in a statement that Chin is his half-brother, has raised some questions in the minds of some persons.
Others have suggested that there was no reason for Phillips to have distanced himself from the matter, given that the police, from the onset, had stated that a suspect was arrested in connection to the US$600,000 (Ja$90 million) cocaine bust at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) on Monday, January 2.
Persons have also opined that the perceived dealings of a sibling, though ‘half-blood’ as stated by Phillips, or otherwise, should not impact upon the character of another sibling or the general family.
Chin, a resident of Mona in St Andrew, has been charged with possession of cocaine, dealing in cocaine, attempting to export cocaine, and conspiracy to export cocaine.
He appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Friday, and granted $700,000 bail based on humanitarian grounds.
Chin’s attorney, Peter Champagnie, in his application for bail, said his client requires dialysis every other day.
Additionally, the attorney said a wound with a tube leading to Chin’s heart and throat was not being cared for adequately while he was in custody at the Half-Way Tree Police Station lockup.
Though the prosecution opposed bail on the basis that Chin was at flight risk, the judge offered bail to the accused, but with a number of strict conditions, including an order that he surrender his travel documents and report to the police daily, and a nightly curfew on his activities.
Prior to bail being offered, the judge rapped the police for failing to take Chin to get medical attention.
Reports are that at about 7am on Monday, January 2, Chin was attempting to board a departing flight to the United States of America, but managed to evade arrest after anomalies were detected on a suitcase that was assigned to him.
A search of the luggage was conducted and the illicit drug with an estimated street value of US$600,000 (over Ja$90 million) was found.
Chin was arrested at about 6:30 pm the same day.
Before the police named the suspect who they had arrested, speculations were rife on Wednesday as to the identity of the individual, with some persons falsely naming a first-time parliamentarian as the man who was in custody.
Then a media entity said the man in custody was a close relative of an MP from the parish of Manchester, breathing new life into the speculations relative to the familial connections of the suspect in custody.
Later that day, Phillips confirmed that the man who had been arrested in relation to the cocaine bust is “my elder brother, of the half-blood, and who had not resided in Jamaica for over 30 years”.
Added the MP: “We are both sons of the late Mrs Minion Phillips, and have never resided together as brothers.”
Phillips, in his statement on the matter, declared that, “I am not the subject of any investigation and have no reason to be involved with it.”
Continuing, he said: “I am aware of social (media) postings which have resulted in me being called by friends concerning the matter, and hence, I have decided to make a public statement setting out all the information I have concerning it.
“The issue is unrelated to me, and therefore I am and remain unconnected to it,” Phillips stated.
But some social media users questioned the element of Phillips’ statement where he mentioned that Chin was his half-brother.
“Him brother tun half-brother now,” wrote Facebook user, Lee Keyz, who used a number of laughing emojis in his comment.
Another user, Cheryl Smith, in response to that remark, said: “Lee Keyz, even if (it) is (Phillips’) full brother, he’s (the accused) responsible for his own (alleged) actions, not the whole family… same for you, same for him.”
For Valarie Taylor, her position was that, “No need to quantify (possibly meaning qualify) your brother”.
She added: “He’s your brother, no half-brother; no matter what he does, especially he’s from the loins of your mother.”
Paul Shand posted: “Sir Phillips, there is no need to explain anything to anyone, and it doesn’t matter if he was your full or half-brother, because you committed no crime.”
Wrote G James Palmer: “I sincerely hope this is not turned into a political football… One has no control over what one’s relatives (allegedly) do….”
Dr Christopher Tufton
On Twitter, a few Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) politicians interestingly came to the defence of Phillips relative to his name being published in the media relative to the alleged offences, though he has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
“You have my support @MikaelPhillips,” tweeted Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton.
without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Floyd Green, an attorney, wrote: “The familial relations of someone charged with a crime is really of no moment unless there is more to suggest involvement; mentioning that relation may create an unfortunate and untrue impression.”
West Rural St Andrew MP, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, tweeted: “Why implicate the MP? We love to throw politicians under the bus. The stigma against us will never go away. We must stand up for each other.”
Many persons agreed with that comment.
“I do agree, as I said to someone, I am not my brother’s keeper. All so very unfortunate and should be put to bed now,” commented Twitter user, @SherryD, as an example.
Tweeted @PernelJM: “I am not my brother and should not have to account for his (alleged) actions…. Neither should the MP.”