Jamaica's Bruce Golding denies link to drug lord Dudus Coke
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding angrily dismissed reports that he is an associate of Dudus Coke, the alleged drug lord and gang leader. Mr. Golding vowed to root out gang leaders, or 'dons', from Jamaican communities.
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding angrily struck out at media reports that described him as an associate of reputed drug lord and Shower Posse leader Christopher "Dudus" Coke, even as he promised to use a Jamaica state of emergency to root out the powerful gang leaders, or dons, that control large swathes of Kingston, the capital.Skip to next paragraph
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Jamaica's public defender said Wednesday that 44 deaths have been confirmed in the fighting in Kingston so far. Most of the dead are civilians. The fighting has centered on the Shower Posse stronghold of Tivoli Gardens in western Kingston, though Jamaican press reports said that Mr. Coke, who Jamaica has vowed to arrest and extradite to the US, had slipped out of the area.
Mr. Golding's fury was ignited by two reports. An ABC News report cited unnamed officials saying that the US views the Jamaican prime minister as a business partner of Coke, who's wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges. An article in The Independent described the Shower Posse as an annex of Golding's ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
"Both publications, by seeking to link (Golding) personally with the alleged drug kingpin, were clearly part of a conspiracy to undermine the duly elected government of Jamaica," Golding's office said in a statement. "The Prime Minister said the reports have made damaging and libelous assertions and he repudiated the scurrilous and malicious reporting, which he said must be dismissed with the contempt that it deserves."
The US has not publicly accused Golding of anything, but its public communications have grown more forceful toward the ruling party. Golding only agreed to extradite Coke last week after fighting US efforts for nine months. He also publicly apologized to Jamaica for having paid $50,000 to a powerful law firm to lobby the US government to drop its extradition demands over Coke.
"Delays in proceeding with the significant extradition request for a major alleged narcotics and firearms trafficker who is reported to have ties to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, and subsequent delays in other extradition requests, have called into question Kingston’s commitment to law enforcement cooperation with the US," the State Department said in a report on narcotics trafficking in March.