Good job, the US tells Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday June 30, 2010 – It came 10 months after the United States asked for it, but the government of Jamaica’s “swift, safe transfer” of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke to the US, after he waived his right to an extradition hearing last week, has earned the government kudos from the US government.

US Assistant Secretary of State, Philip Crowley, commended the Bruce Golding government and the local authorities for their work to support Coke’s transfer.

Coke, who is in prison awaiting trial for drug and gun running, was transported to New York last Thursday, within hours of attending a hearing where he declined to fight his extradition and asked to be sent to the US to face the charges.

“We commend the Jamaican authorities and the government of Prime Minister Golding for their work to support his swift, safe transfer to the United States,” Crowley said at a recent press briefing in Washington. “Once the legal proceedings were complete, he was transported to the airport in Kingston by the Jamaica Defense Force and then escorted on a flight from Kingston to New York by the DEA and US Marshals Service and from this point on, the matter is really now in the hands of the US Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of New York.”

The US had requested Coke’s extradition since August 2009, but the Jamaica government had initially refused, saying that the wiretapping evidence against Coke had been gathered illegally. Prime Minister Golding gave in and gave the green light for the extradition process to begin in May, after coming under heavy criticism.

Meantime, Golding has indicated that he wants more of the kind of cooperation between the US and Jamaica, displayed in the Coke matter, to be a feature of relations with other developed nations.

Speaking recently at a special outreach session of the G8 Summit in Canada, he appealed to those countries for greater assistance to countries like Jamaica in the fight against organized crime. 

He said that assistance must be broad-based and must recognise that rooting out crime is not just a law enforcement exercise, but must be seen as a major development issue. 

“When we go into communities and dismantle the criminal organizations that are embedded there, we leave a huge space which, if not quickly filled by meaningful programmes that empower people, provide training and jobs, create opportunities and offer hope, will shortly thereafter be filled by a new, smarter generation of criminals,” Golding said. “The kind of social intervention that is needed requires resources that we don’t have. We need your help…lots of help.”