Archive for the ‘dudus’ 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.
The main thing going on before that date is the motion filed by Dudus lawyers to throw out wiretap evidence, used in the extradition order against him. That would be pretty crucial in the case – his lawyers argue that it contravened Jamaican law to hand it over to the Americans.
But as Coke continues to be holed up inside a cell in the US, how are things on the outside in Tivoli Gardens. West Kingston?
The govt say they are dealing with crime with an ‘iron fist’ reporting 700 fewer murders over the last year. The police also say they are making significant inroads in efforts to eradicate gangs, dismantling 50 per cent of the 57 targeted since the New Year. Is it leading to safer streets and will it last I wonder?
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.
After many many months, Christopher Coke finally gets himself a couple of defence lawyers.
There were some other lawyers circling around him at his first court appearance – they were Frank Doddato, Steven Rosen and Nicholas Matassini. But perhaps they proved to be too expensive.
The delay in appointing his lawyers is believed to be due to having to prove that all money paid for legal representation has to be clean. This matter has still not cleared up though as it’s reported that this cannot be confirmed until he goes back to court for his next date.
The problem in proving where Dudus’s money comes from is not good from his point of view as he should be concentrating on what his defence is going to be and working on his case. Up until now, public attorney (assigned by the court) Russell T Neufeld has been defending him.
His next court appearance is due on September 7th, 2010. The trial is probably a short while away yet, so there’s still time to get the prep right and his new lawyers are sounding confident (but then that’s their job).
Coke’s father’s friend Vivian Blake, who was the alleged head of the shower posse, when Coke’s father Jim Brown was around, served eight years in prison for his crimes. That sounds like a good deal to me, and could be some indication to Dudus’s future.
Normal life in Tivoli Gardens right now as illustrated in the Gleaner newspaper, but we all know things are not normal. After a decade of tight control and loyal support to West Kingston area don Dudus, everyone there must be wondering what is going to happen next.
The police are still making their presence felt, manning a couple of units that have been set up there. They are now warning that gangs in West Kingston are re-grouping.
The fight to re-establish a new don to replace the power vacuum left behind by Dudus will be strong and the police are hoping that social groups will come in to help re-build trust with police – an international inquiry into the killings a month ago, may be more effective.
Sandra Goldbourne, is from one of the agencies who are supposed to be stepping into Tivoli – she is quoted as saying they will help the community with health, housing and employment, but unless they come with money to deal with the lack of health, jobs and poor housing, spurious gang violence when the police leave the area, a few more months down the line, may well be the inevitable outcome.
A couple of things to say in support of Movado’s message.
The former police commissioner, Harley Lewin has said in a TV interview that Christopher “Dudus” Coke knew about the extradition request within “minutes” of it being disclosed to the JLP national security minister – Dwight Nelson. The implication being that Mr Nelson tipped off Dudus.
We already know that the Prime Minister himself staked his own reputation, putting himself on the line trying to protect Dudus from extradition, so it is no surprise in a way that Mr Nelson would also be implicated.
The other thing that has happened, is corruption within the finance ministry – as 250,000 USD was discovered to have been de-frauded.
Certainly, the system is not really working right now and change would be a move in the right direction.
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?