The Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew, Desmond McKenzie, tried to dissuade the United States from extraditing Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke because he predicted of the violence to come, which eventually claimed 73 lives during civil unrest earlier this year, according to United States diplomatic cables leaked to the WikiLeaks website.
Repeated efforts to contact the Mayor before publication have proved futile.
According to the cable, which was published by the Guardian newspaper today (Article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/223424), McKenzie told US officials in September 2009 that the Americans’ request to extradite Coke on charges of firearms and drug trafficking risked “serious repercussions” and would “risk destroying everything the government was trying to do on the economy and crime”.
He allegedly told the Americans that his ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) party had collaborated with Coke to control crime.
“The Mayor began by stating pointedly that the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) faced a serious crisis because of Washington’s request for the extradition of Christopher Coke to stand trial on narcotics and firearms charges in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (reftels A,B). He predicted that there would be “severe repercussions” and “collateral damage” if Coke were arrested, and that this would “risk destroying everything the Government was trying to do on the economy and crime,” said a cable sent from the US Embassy in Kingston on September 2, 2009.
“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. 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.”
In their cable, the US diplomats agreed with McKenzie’s assessment, noting the “extraordinary power” of Coke.
“McKenzie’s fears are not unfounded: Coke’s wealth, power, and influence are pervasive, and his sudden removal could spark violent incidents and/or unleash rivalries among competing gang factions in Kingston, Spanish Town, and Montego Bay. He is easily the highest profile figure whose extradition has been requested in many years, and his long-standing ties to the JLP have put McKenzie, (Prime Minister Bruce) Golding, and other leading Party figures in an extremely awkward position,” said the US.
More Info: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/223424