Pathologically mendacious! KD’s pungent political barbs over yrs

‘Pathologically mendacious!’ KD’s pungent political barbs over the yrs

KD’s pungent political

Former People’s National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament (MP), Senator, and Cabinet minister, KD Knight, is, without doubt, a master of delivering political quips, using his incisive wit and humor over the years to make serious political points while criticizing his opponents both on and off the political platform.

Knight’s comments have become almost legendary on the Jamaican political scene – from him telling former Prime Minister Bruce Golding to “pack his bag and go”, to labeling the said former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader as being “pathologically mendacious”.

However, some persons have viewed Knight’s purposeful political comments over the years as being frankly distasteful, citing examples of when he seemingly questioned the academic capabilities of his own PNP colleague, Portia Simpson Miller, who would eventually overcome the embarrassment and create history in becoming Jamaica’s first female prime minister.

Many political observers will agree that Knight’s sharp tongue has earned him an infamous reputation for being able to provide a good sound bite on any given day.

That has resulted in comrades and even some members of the wider population referring to him as the ‘Sheriff’ or ‘Star Boy’, names he earned for his perceived ‘Oscar Award-winning’ performance during the 2011 Manatt-Dudus Commission of Inquiry, which was held to determine the circumstances that led to the extradition of the Tivoli Gardens strongman, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, a year earlier.

Knight’s latest slang, ‘Buy a bag!’

Though he has retired from representational politics and the Senate, Knight’s use of humor has not died, and he showed proof of that at a recent political rally in the South East St Catherine constituency, where medical doctor Alfred Dawes is vying to represent the PNP in the next general elections, which is constitutionally due by September 2025.

Knight, of course, endorsed Dawes on the night, but it was his swipe at Prime Minister Andrew Holness that stole the show.

“I am telling Andrew (Holness) from this platform tonight; Andrew, buy a bag… Yuh going need it!” declared Knight, whose comment lent the suggestion that Holness will lose the next general elections.

Knight, a former National Security Minister and Foreign Minister, in his usual spontaneous mood at the political meeting, reminded the audience that he told former Prime Minister Bruce Golding to “Pack your bags (and go!).”

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Knight also told the other JLP MPs to “buy a trunk” and “rent a bus” to leave Gordon House together, a clear forecast that the Holness Administration will lose whenever the national elections are held.

But some JLP supporters have since labeled Knight’s comments as a mere bluff, hinting that the senior attorney, like the rest of the PNP, is still feeling the sting of the shock 49-14-seat victory the JLP registered against the PNP in the September 2020 General Elections.

Bluff or not, over the years, Knight has, in fact, made a number of witty remarks that have definitely caught the attention of the media and the public alike.

He has notably been also very critical of his own party leaders, especially former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

Knight questions Portia’s education?

In the lead-up to the PNP presidential elections in 2006, Knight seemingly took aim at the eventual winner of the race, Portia Simpson Miller, by hinting that she was not bright enough for the job, as there were some far more academically qualified candidates in the race.

While Knight’s comments were seen by some as a legitimate concern, others felt they amounted to an attack on Simpson Miller’s character and competence.

Years later, in a newspaper interview, Knight, with a slick tongue, sought to clarify his comments.

“I said when persons ask me (about the) qualifications of each (candidate), I say, Dr. Peter Phillips Ph.D., I say, Dr Omar Davies PhD, I say, Dr Karl Blythe, medical doctor, and I say, Comrade Portia, so and so, and there was a pregnant pause.

“That was interpreted to mean that I said that you have to have a Ph.D. to be prime minister,” he said.

“The one criticism that I smile about to myself…, was (about) anti-woman. I said to myself, ‘When people don’t know your background, don’t know you, they say all sorts of rubbish’,” Knight added.

He said it was under his tenure as minister of national security that a woman rose to the rank of assistant commissioner in the police force, and more women graduated from the police academy.

Knight calls Dorothy Lightbourne ‘stupid’

To this day, Knight is viewed in some quarters as having been somewhat rude with some of his remarks.

For example, in March 2010, he was censured for calling then Leader of Government Business in the Senate, the JLP’s Dorothy Lightbourne, “stupid” during a shouting brawl with the latter in the Upper House of Parliament.

A week after the tongue lashing by the then PNP senator, he was suspended from two sittings of the Senate through a motion that was crafted by the Government senators, who all accused him of breaking the Senate’s Standing Orders when he called Lightbourne “stupid”.

Responding to the suspension at the time, Knight said it was a “sideshow”.

He added that: “What they do is use the occasion to rush through legislation, and when we ask them to delay legislation for a week, the leader of Government business gets up and says we are trying to derail the legislative agenda.”

Knight, speaking in a radio interview at the time, contended that the Government senators did not follow due process, and he was never given a chance to respond to concerns raised in the Upper House about his actions.

“Nobody asked me any questions, nobody sought my response, and I don’t believe I heard what the (then) Senate president said, which was that, ‘Oh, is he denying what he said?’

“If he thinks that the denial of the word is the only way one can defend oneself, that is pathetic, but I’m not surprised,” declared Knight.

KD vs Bruce re ‘pathologically mendacious’

There were several verbal clashes between then Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Knight, who was the attorney representing the PNP, at the 2011 Dudus/Manatt Commission of Enquiry.

None, however, superseded the April 2011 showdown between the two political titans, which led to a near collapse of the sitting after Golding refused to answer any more questions from Knight.

This was after Knight accused him of withholding information from the commission.

“You are a pathological, mendacious person,” Knight taunted.

“You have a pathological condition when it comes to telling the truth, and I’m suggesting to you that you have misled, conspired, and deceived the Parliament, the people of this country, and this commission, the diaspora, and every Jamaican and that you, Mr. Prime Minister, should pack your bags and go,” Knight infamously stated.

Bruce Golding

Bruce Golding

Clearly fuming, Golding told then-commission Chairman, Emil George, that he would no longer answer questions from Knight.

“I am not prepared to answer any further questions from Mr. Knight, and I am prepared for any consequence,” declared Golding.

But Knight scoffed at the remarks, saying Golding was full of “big talk”, and that the then prime minister had seen him turn off his microphone and knew that he had already ended his cross-examination.

Following Knight’s suggestion that Golding was purportedly a frequent liar, the phrase took off in the early days of social media and was heavily rotated on street corners nationally.

‘Kibbah yuh mouth,’ Knight tells Holness

While serving as the St Elizabeth election coordinator for the then Opposition PNP in December 2011, Knight took to the platform in Black River and told Holness in his first stint as prime minister, following the resignation of Bruce Golding, to “kibbeh (close) yuh mouth!”

Knight made the comment as he urged Holness to stay quiet in relation to the Trafigura scandal which dogged the PNP in the final year of its then administration, ending in 2007.

Knight said while Jamaicans knew that the PNP had received “a donation” from Dutch oil trading company, Trafigura, in 2006, the JLP had remained quiet about the source of funding for the party to acquire the services of law firm Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips.

The US law firm reportedly lobbied the US Government in relation to the 2010 US extradition request for former West Kingston don, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.

In light of those circumstances, Knight said Holness should “kibbeh (close) yuh mouth; don’t talk about it again, (because) if you talk about it again, there is more I have to say.”

To date, there has been no clear indication of who paid for the services of Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips.

JLP stands for ‘Just Lose Power

Another of Knight’s more famous quips came in 2012, during a debate in the Senate.

In responding to a member of the then Opposition JLP, who had accused the PNP of being a part of “Poverty and Poor People,” Knight retorted that: “If PNP stands for Poverty and Poor People, then JLP stands for Just Lose Power.”

The comment drew laughter and applause from the PNP benches, and quickly went viral on social media.

Bridges to nowhere

In 2016, Knight made another memorable remark during a speech at a party rally just before the February 2016 Elections, which were eventually lost by the PNP.

In referring to the JLP’s promises to fix the country’s infrastructure, he quipped:

 “They’re building bridges to nowhere and highways to hell”.

No plans to get us out of poverty

In a 2017 interview with a local newspaper, Knight criticized the Government’s handling of the country’s economy, saying: “The Government seems to have a plan to get us out of debt, but not a plan to get us out of poverty.”

He also took aim at the Government’s infrastructure plans, saying: “They’re building highways that lead to nowhere, and bridges that don’t connect anything.”

Sticky fingers

In commenting on the heavily lauded departure of the PNP’s Damion Crawford from the Senate in March 2019 to face a subsequent defeat in a by-election in East Portland, in comparison to the forced exit of a then Government senator from the chamber as a result of corruption allegations against him, Knight charged that the Upper House of Parliament is not the place for dishonorable politicians.

Knight was even more strident, telling the Senate that person must serve the country without harboring thoughts of ….

“They must keep their sticky fingers off the people’s money,” Knight said, adding that the level of corruption at the Governmental level, perceived or real, must no longer be allowed to fester.

Holness is said to be surrounded by ‘sycophants’

Knight, in his final stint as a senator during a hotly contested debate in February 2020, during which the Government’s use of states of emergency (SOEs) was being debated, rustled the proverbial feathers of a few Government senators when he claimed Holness was surrounded by “sycophants”.

He used the phrase to make allegations that those surrounding Holness were fearful of challenging his approach to fighting crime because of their own self-interests.

“As one who has been in Government, I can empathize with you; I didn’t cause it to happen to me, but if you are surrounded by sycophants… what they are thinking about more than anything else is their self-preservation, then they are going to agree with you and cause you to feel as if you are omniscient,” declared Knight.

“They think you are omnipotent,” he said, adding, “You have become all wise because they think you are all powerful and their status depends on the exercise of your power, so they don’t help you.”

But Government senator Ransford Braham would have none of it, arguing that the murder rate has been high even under past PNP administrations.

“I have to repudiate the suggestion that was made, tongue in cheek as it was, that the prime minister surrounded himself with sycophants, and all that they do in order to eat food is to say, “yes, yes, yes’,” Braham said.

“Not true, and you shouldn’t say it because you know better,” Braham lambasted Knight.

Bitter KD?

In a now infamous voice note purportedly of Knight after the PNP suffered a landslide defeat to the JLP in the September 2020 polls, the former senator alleged that the JLP stole $14 billion from Government coffers and used the money for the party’s election campaign.

“Much of the money that the Labourites spent in this election was money that they stole from the people themselves. They stole that money and stored part of it to use in buying votes,” according to the voice note which was heavily circulated on social media.

“This is a return to slavery, that’s what it is. But this time it’s not the white man buying the black man, it’s the black man putting up himself for sale to anybody, whether black or white. My brother, we are going to regret this,” the voice note said.

File photo of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters celebrating an election victory.

File photo of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters celebrating an election victory.

In refuting the allegations that were made in the voice note, Young Jamaica (YJ), the JLP’s youth arm, said it found the accusations to be the highest levels of blatant disregard for a fair and democratic electoral process.

It said the claims offended the sensibility of the Jamaican people and is “yet another ineffectual attempt to discredit the political severity of the loss (that had been) dealt to the PNP” in the election that year.


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