Archive for the ‘kingston’ Tag
It happened at the Quad nightclub in new Kingston on Bounty Killer’s b’day. As Mavado arrives with his entourage, there’s a scuffle and armed police shoot his friend, who later dies in hospital. All in the presence of TV cameras.
All I have to add is did the police really deem it necessary to have a presence at this event? I think the club security would have been a better idea.
This is Mavado’s answer to the incident. He says the gun was “popped” with no provocation.
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.
I have been thinking about the stark differences between the male and female sex trades in Jamaica. The reason it has come up is this case, where police officers are alleged to have gang raped an ‘exotic dancer’ – a woman who dances in Jamaica’s many go-go clubs. To be a female sex worker in Jamaica is no joke and this crime highlights the lowly status and terrible risks these women face. They face rape, they’re really looked down on and there are many cases of young girls getting drawn in.
Compared to some of the boys who work in the resorts, it’s just so different. I spoke to a guy who did this job in Montego Bay. He was young and good looking and he seemed to pick and choose the women he liked and from the impression he gave, he seemed to be enjoying himself – although perhaps this was not always true. He described nights going into womens’ bedrooms and finding them there naked. And after they left, he would ply them for ‘birthday presents’ gifts and wired money. So this was a long term venture which almost seemed to play with the womens’ feelings – using their guilt to keep him in the money.
But i guess there must be similarities too – risk of sexual disease and feelings of low self esteem sometimes.
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
We’ve had a lot of talk this year about the links between the gangs in Jamaica and the politicians (read more about Dudus here). But all this talk of garrison politics and historical links, has blurred the truth about today’s gangs in Jamaica.
The real situation has been highlighted by Damian Hutchinson in the JA Observer. He works to try and make peace by talking to warring groups when gang violence kicks off in Kingston and he makes some interesting points …
“So it’s a process where the entire community is wrapped up in the violence, so it is not just a gang, so it is very tricky when the police say they are going to dismantle a gang. How do you dismantle a community?
“It’s not just 10 man that you run into and kill off the 10 name brand man. His mother is there, his sister is there and his cousins are there. It’s community battling against community, so it’s very tricky when you say you are going to dismantle a gang, it’s communities”
“You will have a community with six streets and six different leaders. We have more pockets and definitely more groups.
Also there are situations where the don for the community is overseas, and so he influences the process and the money to buy bullets comes through a money transfer facility every Friday. That situation is much more complicated because whereas the main players are in the community and you can get them to come together at the table, when you have an overseas factor like that, it’s much more difficult”
“You have good gunmen and you have bad gunmen. ”
I can agree with this last statement as I have met a few of them.
Hutchinson also talked about a working man who used his savings to buy guns when the police failed to protect his community. There are many things that drive men (and women) to take up the gun in Jamaica. Condemning them without understanding the reasons behind their decision would be a big mistake, because therein lies the solution.
There has been a drug bust – 1,000 pounds of marijuana discovered at the West Kingston port – Port Bustamante. There is much scope for a closer look at the port, now that things are supposed to be running above board, after allegations that drug gangs use this port for the export of marijuana and to import illegal guns. There have been many past incidents including this one.
Access to the port, undetected, would of course contribute to the success of drug gangs operating out of Jamaica. It would explain the power behind some of the dons in Tivoli Gardens – like Jim Brown, the father of Christopher Coke.
I heard a rumour that there are fields in agricultural areas of Jamaica which are entirely devoted to the growing of marijuana. It would be good to talk to some of the people who were arrested in last month’s drug bust and currently on bail to shed some light on this. As well as get the opinion of the new Chair of Kingston Wharves. Maybe stick with some of the detectives in the Trans national Crime and Narcotic division for a week and also at the Customs dept.
That would be interesting.
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.
The police and army are in control in Tivoli and it seems that for the first time in many years, they are getting the chance to have a good look around. It is reported they have found a ‘torture chamber’.
They also found a number of shallow graves where people were buried. The strict discipline held by Christopher Dudus Coke and his gang in Tivoli Gardens has been known about for some time and is the reason behind his fearsome reputation.
This was found in an area within Tivoli called Java and there’s another place near there called Rasta City.
This photo is said, by police to have been used for torture, but the detail around how they know this is sketchy, although the baseball bat looks ominous, without proper forensic evidence I don’t think it can be said for sure.
Other interesting news is that the police and army have set up a checkpoint and post in Dudus’s old offices. I’m sure they a re relishing the irony of that but is it really appropriate and what does it say about how one force (Dudus) has just been replaced by another (state security). Is one really any better than the other?
These are some items recovered after a raid by police in downtown Kingston this week.
They were found in St John’s Lane, not far from Gordon House which is where politicians in parliament meet.
The Flying squad – headed by Cornwall “Bigga” Ford – read more about him here, in a joint operation with the Caribbean Search Centre – run by the Jamaica Defence Force, found a number of illegal passports – both Jamaican and international ones.
It’s in the midst of a hive of police and army activity going on since the raid on Tivoli Gardens. Read this post about the raid for more info on that.
So several illegal passports and justice of the peace stamps were recovered .
Everyone knows you buy these Justice of the Peace stamps (hell, I’ve even had to buy one myself) - people who need to get abroad can always do so, as opposed to ordinary people who get stuck in an immigration nightmare.
This is the reality of organised crime – you can buy your way and do most things. But does all this activity mean that people will be prosecuted and will the tough stance be long lasting? Does this signal a real change away from the politics of corruption and links between politicians and crime or is this a quick fix until things go back to ‘normal’?
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.