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What is going on with the 'DUDUS' COKE case, will Prime Minister Golding give him up to the USA? The relationship between the two countries are getting BAD!

The Gleaner:

Fifteen years ago when Bruce Golding began aggressively to seek the job

of prime minister of Jamaica, he didn't merely lodge his application. He also wrote his own job description, accompanied by a business plan for the overhaul of the country.

The core of Mr Golding's proposal was the reform of politics and to run a government that was moral. Critical to this restructuring would be, in the language of the period, the dismantling of political garrisons. Mr Golding would not cavort, directly or otherwise, with the enforcers of these zones of political exclusions, that have morphed fertile territory of violence, extortion and other forms of criminality.

No big deal

In the context of a functioning liberal democracy this would have been no big deal, but by the standards of Jamaica's often dysfunctional political arrangements, Mr Golding would have been aware that he was setting a high bar for himself. But he was willing, Mr Golding assured Jamaicans, to pay, if necessary, a political price for having a serious go at this transformation.

People, however, are not so sure. The one real test of Mr Golding's resolve to change the nature of politics in Jamaica and to lead the retreat from garrisons is causing many people to question his will, if not his sincerity.

It is nearly half a year since the US government requested the extradition of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, ostensibly a businessman, but who the Americans accuse of smuggling narcotics into their country and running guns from the United States to Jamaica.

Declined to sign

Mr Golding's justice minister, Ms Dorothy Lightbourne, has so far declined to sign the extradition order so that the Jamaican courts can determine whether the Americans have established a prime facie case against Mr Coke. The Jamaican government has asked the Americans for more and better particulars about the indictment. The government insists that it is protecting the constitutional rights of a Jamaican citizen.

The problem for the administration is that neither the United States nor a large swathe of the Jamaican population believes that. They see in our government's action dithering and waffle.

Mr Coke happens to be based in West Kingston, Mr Golding's parliamentary constituency, whose political epicentre is Tivoli Gardens, which is considered by many as a kind of command and control centre of the governing Jamaica Labour Party. Mr Coke, as benefactor, is considered to be a man of great power and influence in West Kingston and elsewhere, which he 'inherited' from his father, Lester Coke, or Jim Brown, who the Americans also tried to extradite. It is presumed that Mr Coke's actions can influence the political fortunes of the JLP and that to touch him might ignite a volatile security powder keg.

However, the Americans have made it apparent that despite the Government's clunking dance, they still want Mr Coke, as was made clear by Julissa Reynoso, deputy assistant secretary of state, when she visited Jamaica last month and met with Foreign Minister Ken Baugh.

We would not be surprised if the Americans begin to ratchet up political pressure on Jamaica, starting with government agencies that are presumed to do business with Mr Coke or his associates. Our advice to Mr Golding is to allow the legal system to take its course. The present state of affairs is embarrassing.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC: The Bruce Golding administration is reeling after a US State Department report revealed that all is not well between America and Jamaica over its refusal to extradite Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher "Dudus" Coke.

In its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released on Tuesday, the State Department raked the Jamaican Labour Party government over the coals for its refusal to extradite Mr. Coke seven months after a request was made.

It said the delay in responding to the extradition request calls into question the government's commitment to law enforcement cooperation with the United States.

The report added that the government's unusual handling of the request marked a dramatic change in its previous cooperation on extradition.

Unprecedented delays

In a damning comment, the State Department said Jamaica's processing of the extradition request has been subjected to unprecedented delays and unexplained disclosure of law enforcement information to the press.

The report also took issue with what it said were unfounded allegations made by the government questioning US compliance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which facilitates evidence sharing with Jamaica.

Last August, US prosecutors said they wanted the Jamaican government to hand Mr. Coke over to them to face gun and drug-running charges.

If convicted, the 40-year old faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

However, the government has defended its decision not to release Mr. Coke stating that it would not act hastily and violate the Extradition Treaty between Jamaica and America.

So far, there has been no official response from the government and concern is growing that the issue could lead to a strain in Jamaica/US relations.

One member of the Cabinet told RJR News Monday night that he would not comment on the issue due to the highly sensitive nature of the case.

Not enough being done about corruption & organised crime

In the meantime, the State Department has blasted the government's anti corruption efforts saying a bill creating an Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor remains stuck in Parliament despite having the requisite legislative majority needed.

Jamaica also received a failing grade for its effort in tackling organised crime.

According to the US State Department, Operation Kingfish has not been able to exclusively focus on high powered leaders of criminal gangs as many of these persons are given community and in some cases police and political protection.

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Comment by Benjamin Selassie on March 10, 2010 at 9:46am
Comment by JamericanDiva on March 9, 2010 at 3:09am
Well, the US ain't ramping! They've revoked the visa of prominent businessman Wayne Chen, a top JLP supporter, more than likely due to dissatisfaction with Jamaica's reluctance to extradite nationals wanted on criminal charges in the United States. I'm sure they've only JUST begun. There'll be more to follow as I'm sure it's meant to send a message.
Comment by jeleisa black on March 4, 2010 at 12:28pm
all i can say do wat is best for the country,although downtown ago mashup and the whole of west Kingston for can u spare 1 man for a whole country?
Comment by LONDON on March 3, 2010 at 1:42pm
BIG UP DUDUS!!!!!!!!!
Comment by tania harris on March 2, 2010 at 3:20pm
Bruce need to call an elected so we can throw his ass out back on the street with the rest of his thieving, no moral, unethical gang

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