Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | September 28, 2009
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Party backing Hibbert, for now
Embattled government Member of Parliament Joseph Hibbert can depend on his party for continued support, at least for now.

Hibbert is facing accusations of corruption after the British bridge-making firm Mabey and Johnson claimed it bribed him with more than 100,000 over an eight-year period while he served at the Ministry of Transport and Works.

This has sparked calls for the resignation of the two-term member of parliament who represents the East Rural St Andrew seat.

However, Hibbert, who quit as a junior minister shortly after the allegations surfaced, has rejected the calls for him to quit Parliament and it appears the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is in no hurry to push him out.

Not a bribe

JLP Leader Bruce Golding yesterday told Labourites that Hibbert has offered an explanation about any money he might have received from the firm while claiming that this was legitimate, not a bribe.

"He is in a particular situation where he has not been charged and therefore he is not called to defend himself. He is not even in a position to challenge his accuser," Golding noted.

"But as I indicated to Joe, if the payments were legitimate, then he has a duty to himself, and indeed to the Government, to demonstrate this to clear his name and to remove any association to wrongdoing in so far as the Government is concerned."

Hibbert has already vowed to clear his name while arguing that he did nothing wrong.

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