Jamaicans expect unrest in 'Dudus' case
UNDER TREMENDOUS pressure Jamaica's prime minister Bruce Golding apologised to his countrymen, promised that his Justice Minister would sign a US request for the extradition of "Dudus" Coke, wanted in the US to answer drugs and gun running charges, while Jamaicans closed their shops early and ran for cover as they prepared for a violent fall-out from the extradition announcement.
"In a broadcast last evening the PM apologized to the people so there will be no resignation," said a Jamaican friend in an e-mail to us on Tuesday. "Today the attorney general signed the extradition warrant, there is now a stand off in Tivoli Gardens the stronghold of Dudus.
"Dudus has changed attorneys so there is speculation as to whether he will turn himself in or whether we will have a confrontation and gunfight."
There is going to be turmoil throughout Jamaica -- not just Tivoli Gardens, said another friend on his return from Jamaica yesterday.
And posted in comments to our Tuesday morning editorial on the Dudas affair and the accusation that the Jamaican government had hired a legal firm to lobby the American government to reduce its demands, a reader, who signed himself only as Russ, had this to say:
"It's a lot more complex than the many articles out there try to represent. 'Dudus' is the governor of Tivoli Gardens, in his area he is judge, jury and executioner, outsiders are not welcomed unless by executive order. He provides food, clothes, jobs and security for his community (a once neglected area of West Kingston). The removal of him will create a massive void. Imagine if you wake up one morning and your house is burnt to the ground and your father and mother are nowhere to be seen and no one else will give you a chance...people run you when you ask them for bread or a job. If the government of Jamaica is not prepared to support and make available tons of social programmes for this garrison once 'Dudus' is gone, then Jamaica is in for turmoil worse than any hurricane. The people of Tivoli support him because his family were the only ones who gave a damn about them when raw sewerage was running through the streets and rich 'uptown' people used to drive there and throw their garbage...'back a wall.'"
Much the same was said about the Bahamas' "Ninety" Knowles when he was invited to be a guest of Uncle Sam's federal prison system on charges -- of which he was eventually convicted -- of distributing cocaine in the US.
Although the Jamaican government had nothing to do with hiring the US law firm of Mannatt, Phelps & Phillips to resolve the treaty dispute between Jamaica and the US, specifically as it related to the "Dudus" Coke affair, Mr Golding, who was being pressured to resign, said that his party should never have become involved.
He admitted to having sanctioned his party's initiative, "knowing that such interventions have in the past proven to be of considerable value in dealing with issues involving the governments of both countries." However, he said, he had made it clear "that this was an initiative to be undertaken by the party, not by or on behalf of the government."
In hindsight, he said in a national broadcast, "the party should never have become involved in the way that it did and I should never have allowed it, but I must accept responsibility for it and express my remorse to the nation.
"I crave your understanding," said the Prime Minister. "The Government has never refused ... never refused ... the request for the extradition of Christopher Coke. It has simply asked the US authorities to provide additional information that would enable the minister to issue the authorisation in compliance with the terms of the treaty."
It is this compliance and the interpretation of the Extradition Treaty between the two countries that should be of concern to the Bahamas government, which might find itself in a similar situation.
As a matter of fact there was a kick-back in the "Ninety" Knowles case when the Court of Appeal suggested that then Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell had erred in signing Knowles' extradition warrant. But the suggestion was too late to save Knowles, who by then was safely where the Americans wanted him -- in their jail to answer for his illegal transgressions in their country.
May 19, 2010