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The Drug War in Jamaica

It’s one of the things that’s slipped by on this blog, but there’s quite a drug war situation in Jamaica right now.

Nina, from Drugs, Law and Conflict was there recently and has a good report on the situation: State of emergency in Jamaica: new place, same story

Basically, what you have is a big shot named Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who could very well be a drug trafficker, but also certainly is much more:

Dudus is a well-known businessman with a consulting firm that receives numerous state contracts. West Kingston residents are rising up (some allegedly under pressure) to defend the man who goes by “President” and provides services for locals, including food, money for school and dispute resolution.

Now the U.S. wants to step in and extradite Dudus. The Jamaican justice and police system is known to be corrupt and could not possibly handle putting someone like Dudus on trial, yet the idea of the U.S. stepping in with its drug war and taking away one of their own doesn’t sit well with Jamaicans. And the government of Jamaica is torn between it’s love of U.S. money and its connections to Dudas.

An explosive situation.

Peter Moskos at Cop in the Hood has also been following the story, and notes that when government breaks down and is unable to provide basic services for poor people, or protect them from basics like being raped, the drug lord becomes their government, providing handouts… and rules.

As one of the women behind the dons says (see if you can at least get the gist of what she’s saying through the Jamaican dialect):

Inna this area we feel safe, because man from outside and even dem whey live ya cyaan come in and rape we…. If any rape a gwaan, a when we go out a road and man try a thing. Up ya so nuh come een like a place like over Seaview [Gardens] where them don’t have no don in charge and everybody do as them like. Up ya so we have a one man who run things and when anybody bruk the rules, we report him and the boss deal wid him.

Well, the Prime Minister finally issued a warrant for Mr. Coke’s arrest last week, and now the violence comes.

At least 26 people were said to be dead after a third day of violence in Kingston, Jamaica, as security forces assaulted the slum stronghold of armed groups believed to be defending accused Jamaican drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke. […]

Shooting, looting and attacks on Jamaican police soon followed. On Sunday, the government declared a state of emergency. […]

“Security forces are under extreme pressure now,” said Mark Shields, the island’s former deputy police commissioner, who now runs a private security firm. “We have urban war going on.” A spokesman for Jamaica’s police department declined to comment on Tuesday’s events.

Later reports have casualties up to 60 or higher.

His heavily armed henchmen outgunned the cops and turned the capital city into a war zone, with terrified civilians trapped in their homes and the innocent falling in crossfire. […]

Even Kingston Public Hospital “has come under tremendous fire,” with patients forced to lie on the floor under their beds for safety, said Health Minister Rudyard Spencer. […]

Kingston students taking important regional exams had to do it with bullets whizzing by outside, because education officials refused to excuse them.

“We are doing the best we can to reassure the students. We have provided them with lunch,” said Education Minister Andrew Holness.

The drug war. Everything it touches…

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18 comments to The Drug War in Jamaica

  • Just me.

    Once again…OUR lovely government, everywhere it goes , there is war and dispare. Hummm….well lets think for one minute. Prohibition creates cartels , drug lords ,thugs ,dealers….due to the hugh reward for selling ilegal substances.A reward that is inflated/magnified by prohibtion. Any where there is prohibtion it creates an underground black market…which give OUR lovely government has the “Right” to Go into other countries or “states” and get these very “criminals” That they(our government)have created.

    Never waste and emergency or bad situation….even the the people of the world are free from these lies…let alone AMERicans.

    So is Mr dudas Coke guilty of some thing? Probably , but so are members of our government. Criminal attacking criminal? Sounds like the mexico situation. If Mr Coke is guilty of anything he sure as hell may be guilty of falling into the drug war trap, an inhmumame act against people of the world,criminal act?

    A rose by any other name….

  • Just me.

    ….even the the people of the world *arent* free from these lies…let alone AMERicans.

  • Kiwi A. Green

    The country is under a State of Emergency and the children couldnt be excused from sitting an examination and the school is providing lunch as if that is going to help if one of these children should be shot by a stray bullet.

    I feel so ashamed when I see the pictures and hear my fellow Jamaicans on the television acting like holigans; where is our pride, arent we suppose to be role models to our children.

    Jamaica is such a beautiful island and for those who have not travelled let me tell you it’s paradise so you all need to stop the foolishness and start to unite and rebuild the country but before you do that you need to elect a strong government. I thought Mr. Golding was going to do his best to make changes but I havent seen anything changed in Jamaica since Michael Manley left politics; it’s time we have a good Prime Minister that will work for the people and with the people.

    When will Jamaica change and be like the rest of the world, when will my people stand up and say this is enough. We need change and we need it now before this ship sink with all of us.

  • Duncan

    Well at least the students are eating!

  • Ed Dunkle

    The Dudus abides.

    The U.S. marched in and took Noriega when it felt like it. I don’t think Mr. Coke stands much of a chance. National security and all that, you know.

  • Servetus

    If the current problems continue in Jamaica, the island may become the second country on or near U.S. borders to be engaged in a bloodletting civil war due to the illegal drugs trade. Given that prohibitionism never entails a Plan B, the situation in Mexico and Jamaica can only get worse.

  • Marsha-Lee

    The current state of Jamaica is not shocking in that things of this nature occur all over the world. The issue I have with the situation is the way in which the United States and the Jamaican government are dealing with it. The US portrays Dudus as a man who is evil and inhuman but I find him to be the opposite. As he provides he fellow community members with a means to life that their own government is not doing. The Jamaican people within gardens needed protection and they found it in Dudus. His association to drugs should not be a problem as he holds the right to provide for his family. I do not know where these officials come from setting rules and regulations and on what people should and should not do. Instead of wasting time, energy, and money in fighting drugs, why not clean up the streets with the rapist and murders.

  • RD

    I feel so sorry for the wonderful people of Jamaica. Jamaica, like the rest of the world is dead broke due to a corrupted government. Isn’t that always the case? And doesn’t it always lead to the destruction of the middle class, who become poor and the poor, who become helpless. Then, anyone who steps in and provides basic necessities, even a drug dealer, becomes like Robin Hood to those in need.
    A similar scenario, initiated by a government that has pledged to redistribute the nations wealth is evolving in the U.S. on a very large scale right now. Of course, the rich will remain rich, the middle class will be wiped out and the poor will become poorer.
    God help us all …and vote all these scoundrels out of office if you can.

  • claygooding

    Well,so much for flying to Jamaica for the weekend to enjoy
    some of their excellent weed. I got a small sample of it in FL back in 80 during an extended vacation/temporary job
    stay on the east coast.
    I will be glad when all this gets calm enough to go to the pot shop and pick up some Jamaican or Haitian weed.

  • Carol

    Does anyone think the 1200 National Guard to the border has to do with “illegal immigration” or does it really have to do with our “War on Drugs”?

  • Just me.

    40 years of interdiction and law enforcement hasnt gotten the job done. I dont think 1200 National guard will make a difference.

  • real jamaica

    The US acts as if they run the world…….they need to leave innocent people alone… Dudus set order to jamaica… he made the people feel safe thats why they called him the president….. the prime minister sold out his own to the US and he know that that is why he is resigning….for those who dont know… jamaica is a loving country who looks out for thier own….. their coat of arms states….OUT OF MANY ONE PEOPLE…. AND THATS WHY I KNOW THAT JAMAICANS WILL SURVIVE….. KEEP YOUR HEADS UP JAH NAW SLEEP……..

  • real jamaica

    they need to leave jamaican people alone and go continue the search for the terrorist named BIN LADEN. thats who they need to be looking for and stop bothering a man who got his name “PRESIDENT” because of the good that hes done for his people… go and find the terrorist who are blowing up the US……

  • darkcycle

    More money for bullets, more money for guns, another low level third world internal war from which to profit. More money for the drug war, more military equipment and a new place to station the drug warriors (permanantly, I might add). More suffering for an already suffering people, with a healthy dose of carnage and chaos thrown in. C’mon….it’s a prohibitionist’s wet dream. Where’s the downside? (please note the heavy and vicious sarcasm).
    Oh, and ‘Just Me’, put away your red pencil, nobody’s being graded here.

  • This is disaster I wonder of there going to catch him I hope they do

  • babygirl

    it is a shame when a man has to get involved in drug trade and guns to take care of people when the government should be doing it. dudas is guilty no matter what his reasons are yes, and if he really cared about the people of jamaica he would not have abbanded them to save his-self but the jamaica government has really abbandoned the people. i am an american with a home in kingston and i have seen how crooked the police are. you cant go to hilshire beach without them stopping you to get money. may god bless the people of jamaica

  • Concerned

    I am suppose to leave in 25 days to go to montego bay for vacation and my wedding should I be concerned about all of this or reschedule my trip