Archive for the ‘coke’ Tag
So Dudus was given a 23 year sentence. Predictably, residents of Tivoli Gardens remain loyal in their support of him with more than a little denial about the true nature of his crimes. This can be understood when faced with a situation where a don controls your area and provides many sweeteners to your poverty and problems and also in a situation where drug crimes are not only overlooked but practically condoned by some of the island’s leading poltiticans.
There’s supposed to be a lot of good to come out of this, the crime rate is being reported as down significantly and the murder numbers are down from a peak of 1600 deaths in 2009 , less extortion and much talk of cleaning up politics which could only begin after the resignation of the Prime Minister at the time, Bruce Golding.
Interesting to note how a foreign intervention has led to these changes but which jamaica itself can build upon – let’s hope there’s more improvements in the justice system and the police. But for now as Dudus contemplates his future with time to think on his life, maybe he should consider telling his story publicly, as those who protected him in the past, those involved in political corruption and who are still walking free , the country needs to know the full story about how he was able to operate a global drug and gun business with such immunity for so long, so that everyone really can move on.
The drug don of a Kingston ghetto, Tivoli Gardens – Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke faces a 23 year sentence today in New York – there is a very good explanation of background on AP here and also you can see my previous blog posts for background info here and also here.
Dudus will be doing well if he serves the 23 years as it’s thought the US authorities would not have entertained his guilty plea agreement (and thereby reducing a sentence of life in prison), without some help on trying to catch the drug generals and organisers further up the food chain. Dudus may be thinking of the fate of his associate and family friend, Vivian Blake who after serving out a sentence in the US, came back to Jamaica fearing for his life and died about a year after. Even if Dudus has not said anything, there will be a widespread belief that he has.
There seems to be little change when it comes to seeking out political corruption in Jamaica and the alleged links between drugs, crime, police and politicians, it seems a shame to me that there has been little good to come out of the needless deaths of 70 people, mostly residents in Tivoli gardens from May 2010, where many locals continue to support him.
Christopher Coke, aka Dudus has been in US custody on narcotics and firearms charges for nearly a year now and there is still no sign of a trial date. He made his 7th court appearance in Manhattan today – Tuesday May 10th, 2011. No-one’s talking to the press yet, but despite this, there’s already a book out about him, called ‘Jamaica’s First President’ , he was known locally as the Prezzie for short.
So what is going on in Tivoli gardens since his removal? At the time, there was much talk about the power vacuum that would be left behind in his wake, which would lead to more violence and gang warfare. I wrote this blog post about it around that time and also Kingston Mayor Desmond Mckenzie met with US Embassy officials, as detailed in a leaked wikileaks cable – read more about that here.
Meanwhile, the Jamaican JLP Bruce Golding government has stubbornly clung on to an illusion of power, through an enquiry into the Manatt Phelps and Phillips affair – which basically showed how the Golding govt were protecting Dudus from US extradition all along as they were telling the Jamaican people something else entirely. It led to an admission in Parliament that he had lied to them previously. Naturally, his reputation is shot to pieces, but he thinks he can claw it all back for the general election next year.
Judging by a useless opposition leader by the name of Portia Simpson miller, this is not beyond the realms of imagination.
Happened ages ago I know, but just updating the blog and in case someone was not aware, the wikileaks website revealed what we all knew about the Coke extradition and pretty much makes this whole Jamaican govt enquiry completely redundant (at a cost of JA 40 million), but they carry on regardless and the Jamaican people have to eat it.
What was revealed (see below), is nothing at all we didn’t know and perhaps PM Bruce Golding and the JLP would have been forgiven, had they not tried to lie their way through the whole thing.
The mayor of Kingston, Jamaica, tried to dissuade the US government from extraditing a local druglord because he correctly predicted it would ignite violence and unleash a challenge to the state, according to statements attributed to the mayor within leaked US diplomatic cables.
Councillor Desmond McKenzie, mayor of Kingston and St Andrew, allegedly told US officials in September 2009 that the Americans’ request to extradite Christopher “Dudus” Coke on narcotics and firearms charges risked “serious repercussions” and would “risk destroying everything the government was trying to do on the economy and crime”.
When Jamaican officials eventually tried to arrest Coke in May 2010 violence did indeed break out between gangs loyal to the druglord and state forces. At least 73 people were killed as the government declared a state of emergency. Coke was eventually captured and extradited in June.
The mayor also allegedly told diplomats Coke had collaborated with the Jamaican government in various crime crackdowns. The confidential cable states: “The mayor said that in recent years his administration had worked with Coke to reduce crime in the inner cities of Jamaica, particularly in West Kingston. If he now were extradited this would ‘leave a vacuum’, and matters would be much worse.”
The cable continues: “McKenzie noted that in recent days several of his “contacts in the communities” had told him they “would not take this [Coke's extradition] lying down”.
A further cable claims Lorna Golding, the Jamaican prime minister’s wife, told a US embassy official that the extradition request “had been orchestrated as a means of embarrassing her husband politically” by people – including US congressman Charles Rangel – sympathetic to her husband’s political enemies.
The cable states: “In an often surreal and disjointed conversation, Mrs Golding alleged that Congressman Rangel is a ‘sympathiser’ of the opposition People’s National party (PNP) who is ‘manipulated’ by PNP elements in the Jamaican diaspora in the US and is ‘whispering in secretary Clinton’s ear’ in order to ‘downgrade’ the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the government of Jamaica.” Excerpt taken from here
Christopher Coke has been in and out of court in the US, next scheduled to appear on Nov 29, 2010.
His attorneys are now settled and doing the job – they are Florida based lead counsel, Stephen P Rosen and Steve Zissou. There was some delay over getting them in place because it had to be shown that they were being paid legally and not with money which came from an illegal source.
His judge on Nov 29th is Judge Robert P Patterson Jr and it’s thought he could set an actual trial date which may be early next year.
With Dudus safely out of Jamaica and in US custody, there have been a few things being said.
The lawyer who was rep-ping Dudus until the sh*t hit the fan, and now he is back on board and who is also a govt senator has been talking about a few things.
He has been re-iterating the fact that negotiations for Dudus’s surrender were going on before the Tivoli Gardens bloodshed. That he had wished to be taken straight to US custody from the beginning.
“History in time will reveal all, but I can tell you without fear of hesitation that up until an hour before they moved, there were negotiations going on for his surrender to the American authorities. Those people were killed for no reason”
This is bad because it shows how the raid on Tivoli was unnecessary and could have been avoided if the talks had been successful then. But why weren’t they successful?
What assurances did Dudus want which the govt could not give him?
Dudus’s father was Lester Lloyd Coke aka Jim Brown – now dead, he was also wanted by the US authorities in 1988 who accused him of running a multi million dollar drug ring known as the shower posse; so named for spraying showers of bullets in over a 1,000 alleged murders. Read all about Jim Brown here. and a video here on him.
Before Jim Brown, there was Claude Massop. All well known area leaders, or dons from the JLP controlled Tivoli Gardens. The photo below shows the painted murals on the boundary walls of Tivoli Gardens who still revere them today.
Dudus is the classic Robin Hood type figure in his home turf in west kingston, jamaica – listen to people who know him and have met him here.
The US asked for his extradition in Aug 2009 and were damning in their criticism over corruption and failure to hand him over in the 2010 Narcotics report. See more on this here.
So when the pressure on PM Bruce Golding became too much to bear, he signed the extradition request in a televised address to the nation, following nine months of foot dragging.
The roadblocks went up around Tivoli and they prepared for a police shoot out which came a few days later.
Here’s an interesting interview with Edward Seaga afterwards (former JLP PM and creator of Tivoli Gardens) – he says there are many more deaths than are being reported, he says his sources tell him there are 150 people dead. He calls for people in police detention to be released and he says that locals should have been allowed to leave the area much sooner. He also says the 64 thousand dollar question is why did Golding intervened in the Dudus extradition when he should have let it go to the courts to decide.
The historical links between the dons and the politicians is well documented in this book , and university scholars have also documented the links here in the kerr report , this relationship changed in the 1970′s when the dons entered into the drugs trade and had the resources and fire power to do their own thing, but links are still said to exist in the form of government contracts awarded to Dudus’s legitimate companies and allegations over control of Kingston wharf and the custom and excise contained therein.
Dudus’s lawyer was the govt senator Tom Tavares-Finson until the heat got turned up.
I have heard many rumours about the extortion rackets going on in downtown Kingston, linked to the power held by Dudus.
However, it was difficult to prove and most people were always unwilling to talk about it. So this is an interesting development coming from the Tivoli Gardens offensive and hunt for Dudus.
Basically, it quotes town clerk, Errol Greene from the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, which collects legitimate fees from traders, who has been talking about how they, as an official body have suffered because traders were giving the money to extortionists rather than to them, and that they are now hoping that they will be able to collect more fees now that the Dudus crackdown has happened.
Now the Jamaican authorities want all these people in connection with their attempts to get hold of Christopher Coke, it’s all about turning the pressure tap on Dudus to give himself in. If he does turn himself in, will these people no longer be wanted? probably, but if there are known connections to criminal gangs, attempts should be made to pursue legitimate prosecutions as opposed to an elaborate fishing trip.
The list includes: Sandra ‘Sandy’ Coke, sister of Christopher ‘Dudus’;
Orlando Ochoy O’Gilvie;Newton McLeod; Harold McLeod, otherwise called ‘Harry Dog’; Danny Banton; David Heron, otherwise called ‘Reagie’; Kevin Bryan; Michael Murray, otherwise called ‘Bissi’; Donald Brown, otherwise called ‘Negus’; Christopher Linton, otherwise called ‘Dog Paw’; Ricardo Wynter, otherwise called ‘Government’; Euriel James, otherwise called ‘Rooksie’; Jerome Cunningham, otherwise called ‘Rome’; Nyron Hawkins, otherwise called ‘Ice’; Vascilion Lion, otherwise called ‘Irons’; Anthony Harding, otherwise called ‘Prince Pow’; Dennis Duhaney, otherwise called ‘Danfrey’; Timothy Thompson, otherwise called ‘Timmo’; Marlon Barnett, otherwise called ‘Pastor’; Kevin Brian; Richard Francis, otherwise called ‘Red Head’; Jevaughn Robinson, otherwise called ‘Jav’; Damion Gray, otherwise called ‘Sai’; Everton Minot, otherwise called ‘Rado’; and Rohan Silvera.