Jamaica Declares Emergency In Capital Over Violence
Jamaica’s government declared a state of emergency in parts of its capital city Kingston on Sunday after shooting and firebomb attacks on police stations by suspected supporters of an alleged drug lord who faces extradition to the United States. Police in Jamaica’s capital urged gang leader Christopher “Dudus” Coke, wanted in the U.S. on drug and arms-trafficking charges to surrender Sunday, even as tension grew behind barricades erected by his supporters to protect him. Coke, 41, is accused of being the leader of the notorious Shower Posse, which US authorities say operates an international drugs and guns network. The gang has also been blamed for numerous murders in Jamaica and the US. Coke is thought to be hiding in West Kingston’s Tivoli Gardens. Coke is described as one of the world’s most dangerous drug lords by the U.S. Justice Department.
Criminal gangs have begun stockpiling weapons to prevent his arrest. Coke supporters have apparently blockaded the part of Kingston where he lives to stop him being arrested. He has ties of loyalty to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party and holds significant sway over the West Kingston area represented in Parliament by Golding. Defiant followers of, a Jamaican who is widely suspected of controlling gunmen in Tivoli Gardens, have transformed the section into a virtual fortress cut off by trashed cars and barbed wire. The emergency covered the West Kingston and St. Andrews districts of the capital where gunmen fired on two police stations and set fire to another. The attackers were suspected supporters of Coke who the government is seeking under a U.S. extradition request.
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding said earlier this week that he was prepared to send Coke to the US to face charges of drug and gun trafficking. Golding’s fight against the extradition strained relations with Washington, which questioned the Caribbean country’s reliability as an ally in the fight against drugs. His handling of the matter, particularly his hiring of a U.S. firm to lobby Washington to drop the extradition request, provoked an outcry that threatened his political career. The US and UK have warned travellers about possible violence and disorder in Kingston because of the situation. Coke, who typically avoids the limelight, has remained silent. He faces life in prison if convicted on charges filed against him in New York.
There is a visitor from Jamaica that comments on this site often, Corve De Costa. DeCosta took the challenge of writing about this situation describing it as a struggled to write, and depressing to write. DeCosta loves his homeland and from the posting on his blog Corve De Costa you will see the pride he has in Jamaica. Take the time to read his posting Do Not Visit Jamaica, and let’s show DeCosta some support.
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