June 2nd, 2010
03:25 PM ET

Police ID dead in Jamaica as PM dodges no-confidence vote

Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding survived a no-confidence vote after he was indirectly blamed for the outbreak of violence in Kingston.

Jamaica plans to bring in relatives and friends Wednesday to identify those killed in the operation to arrest accused drug lord Christopher Coke, the ministry of national security said.

The identification process, which began at 9:30 a.m., came hours after Prime Minister Bruce Golding survived a no-confidence vote in parliament. Jamaica’s opposition People’s National Party accused Golding of being indirectly responsible for the deaths and the outbreak of violence in West Kingston.

In the motion of no-confidence, parliament member Peter Phillips accused Golding of partaking in a “damnable coverup,” actively fighting to protect Coke and allowing organized crime to insert itself into Jamaica’s politics.

“Mr. Speaker,” Phillips said, “it is with a sense of personal disappointment that one of the authors of this whole sordid chapter was none other than the prime minister himself.”

The motion was rejected along party lines Tuesday night, according to Jamaican news outlets, with Golding’s Labor Party trumping the measure 30-28.

Defending his party colleague, Clive Mullings said it was easy to “weigh down on someone who has taken responsibility,” according to media reports. He added that Golding’s contrition gave him confidence in the head of state.

Opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller called Golding’s actions tantamount to “samfie,” a Jamaican word for trickster, according to the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.

The crux of the opposition’s beef lies in a diplomatic tussle surrounding the U.S. request that Jamaica extradite Coke, who has been indicted on drug and gun crimes in a New York federal court.

The U.S. requested Coke’s extradition last year, but the Jamaican government questioned whether the U.S. had obtained its evidence legitimately. At issue were wiretapped phone calls that a Jamaican constable – known only as John Doe in affidavits - shared with American authorities.

Jamaica Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne demanded the constable’s name, saying he should be charged. The U.S. refused. A stalemate persisted until last month when Golding said the courts would decide whether to extradite Coke.

Violence subsequently erupted in West Kingston’s Tivoli Gardens, a garrison community where Coke holds sway, as Jamaican police and soldiers fought with gunmen they said were loyal to Coke.

The Jamaican opposition accused Golding and other Labor officials of hiring a lobbying firm to scuttle the U.S. extradition request. The opposition further said Golding misled parliament when he said the party, and not the government, hired the firm.

Golding has issued a national apology, saying he believed the matter was being “kept completely separate from the government,” but it wasn’t. Golding has also fended off media reports that he is “a known criminal affiliate” of Coke. He called the charges “scurrilous.”

Peter Bunting, the PNP’s national security spokesman, said Golding has engaged in a “long-running pantomime,” the Jamaica Observer reported.

According to the newspaper, Bunting said the government essentially gave Coke a “heads-up” by announcing that authorities would pursue extradition.

The prime minister's “spin doctors were desperately trying to reinvent him, presenting him as the man to now lead the fight against crime,” Bunting was quoted as saying.

Golding contended that he had to broadcast Coke’s arrest warrant because each time security forces entered Tivoli Gardens unannounced, women and children were killed, the Observer reported.

In an address Tuesday night, Golding said a police post was established in Tivoli Gardens to improve police relations with residents. Sources have told CNN that many residents in the community consider Coke a hero or benefactor.

Golding also said that the hunt for Coke was a catalyst for a more concerted fight against “criminal networks that have embedded themselves in communities.”

“It is a campaign that will be sustained and intensified,” he said. “It is a campaign that will target criminal gangs wherever they exist, irrespective of their political alliances or whether they have any such alliances.”

Though estimates place the death toll higher and the opposition claims it has topped 100, Golding said the bodies of 73 civilians have been killed in the search for Coke.

Photos of the victims will be on display at the Tivoli Gardens Community Center and another location Wednesday. Police are asking that relatives bring photos of their loved ones to assist in identifying them, according to the Ministry of National Security.

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Filed under: Jamaica
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Toia

    Every counrty has some form of poverty and crime, so for all of you righteous people who thinks different. READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!!!

    June 3, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. Toia

    Every country has some form of poverty and crime, so for all you righteous people who thinks differently...READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!!!

    June 3, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rev

    Rasta Far I and I ... PEACE AND BLESSIINGS REIGN DOWN UPON KINGSTON... Jah Mercy Endureth For-I-Ver ! Bless up !

    June 3, 2010 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ras Illy from Jahmaka

    politricks mashed up Jahamaka over the years, Real Rasta say so

    June 3, 2010 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. zeebraj

    my heart goes out to my people, i left ja when i was 17 yrs old, it was so beautiful living in manchester tears come to my eyes when i see all this unrest in this beautiful island, for those that have negative vibes, you have to grow up in jamaica to see how beautiful it is kingston is not the beauty of jamaica, the country side is the beauty of jamaica, so folks lets just pray for our people, hate does not solve problems it cause pain, i am looking forward to taking my daughter to see the beautiful place i grew up, the beautiful place of my roots, the palce i so often talk to her about, the fun i had when i was a kid, going to the beaches etc..STOP THE HATE..dont let mr Coke and his followers feel so important..

    June 3, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Yan

    Lets separate the facts and opinions before we Jamaican can are misunderstood even more.

    Fact: Our Prime Minister is an ass. He lied when he said the Jamaican government did not seek the help of an American Law firm to represent a KNOWN drugs and guns dealer who for almost 20 years have been suspected of many murderers. True we have no conclusive proof, but you would have to be blind, deaf and dump in Jamaica not to know our criminals. Island too small for big secrets.

    Opinion: Our PM is a associate of Coke.
    This is not necessarily true. Or PM is afraid of the man and so should we all be. Or PM is corrupt. That obvious because how could he not be and oppose the extration warrant of a suspected killer/drug. Jamaica dont make guns. The US make Guns and have loose Laws on Guns controll. Guns serve the singular purposes of killing or intimidating. Any person who makes/smuggles it into the country is enabling both actions. Coke is one such person.

    Fact: The PNP and the JLP are both to blame for this mess. Both parties sat on their asses for decades watching both Coke and his Father before him create the empire they now have. If you work down at the Kingston Wharf you know that some shipments are not to be searched because they belong to "TG man dem". There is always a hangers-on" man on the Wharf ready to let you know that you can die at the stop light leaving the wharf if you dont cooperate with "the system". Is that worth dying for? HELL NO! If the governing Parties wanted it to stop all they had to do was creates stricker laws and enforce them on Wharf managers; Provide Managers with adequate security; Use soldiers and police to track the "TG man dem" shipment to Coke; Provide the Police and Military with surveillance equipment; Go into every community including TG and take finger prints and DNA from all the men known to the Police as GANG MEMBERS amd keep both a finger print and DNA database. STOP expecting innocent people to be witnesses(walking dead). And for heaven sake seek international help. The US for all its wrongs on Gun controll does want the shipment of Drugs & Gun into/out of JA to stop.

    Fact: Those men in TG did not commit a common crime. The attacked the country of Jamaica by attacking the police stations, a School and destroying the Downtown Market. Look how much of "mi rass clatt" tax money went into building and renovating that market over the years. Mi neva complain b/c mi like see Jamaican farmers get fi sell dem goods and a nuff women in dem store now start off downtown a sell in d market. When we find the men (not just Coke) who were involved in those acts they should be charged for TREASON.

    I am truly sorry for the innocent people in TG who have lived their lives in fear between corrupt cops and gunmen. But not for the idiots who came on TV saying they would die for DUDUS.

    June 3, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nazarite

    It is all a SHAM. Pretend they looking for the drug lord, but the real mission is to kill the people of EL SHADDAI...We are living in the last days. Open your eyes Jamaicans. Open your eyes children of the LORD ALMIGHTY.

    June 3, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Maiky

    My condolences to all Jamaicans that lost a loved one. This is unacceptable, in no way this should be tolerated and to be honest the Jamaican autorities and its President are the ones to blame since they let the US intervene in this slaughter.

    This is just another example of how bad our laws are, who cares what coke and his followers did, he did more good than bad and now people are paying with their lives becuase one selfish american department wants to take maters in there own hands. The US should focus on their problems and stay out of other countries where they have no jurisdiction. On top of that the Jamaican autorities claim that they did not burn any bodies when in fact this is a bunch of bull. Many residents saw the bodies being wrapped up in sheets and put into the tires, shame on the Jamaican authorities for killing their own...

    June 3, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. CSH

    I am an American lving in Oklahoma who has traveled to JA for vacation many times. I have driven around many parts of the country without any incident. I have never been afraid or felt uncomfortable. The people of JA are the best. I will be back again this Summer for Sumfest and siteseeing around the island!

    June 3, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Namey namey

    Yep! Me n my 3 kids n 2 of my best friends n all their kids WILL be hitting up Negril in July 2010. Will be hitting up ATI n all dat! Hopefully town will cool down by then so I can visit some other fam there. Jamaican 4ever!!!! Jamaica to de WORLD!!!!

    June 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Corve

    If there is anyone to get JAmaica out of its crises it will be Bruce Golding.

    June 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • winchester

      Yes, he should fess up and admit that he and his predecessor (Seaga) gave Coke and his late father the authority to run Tviloli however they see fit...

      June 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jeffthebull

    If the poor people, young and older both, of Jamaica and other poverty-stricken countries/regions such as Haiti had opportunities to improve their economic condition, they would have no logical reason to turn to violence and illicit drug-dealing as a way to improve their social and economic standing.

    Although, in Jamaica, although I have never been but am going for the first time tomorrow, I truly believe there is a unique niche that Jamaica possesses that could be a virtual cure-all for poverty in the Caribbean nation, which would be to legalize the use, sale, growing/manufacturing, and in particular the exportation of their world-renowned Jamaican Ganja. Foreign currency would be pouring in from all ends of the globe to help develop a peaceful, prosperous Jamaica. It's such a damn waste of life, money, and potential. Legalize it! (like Portugal)

    June 3, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. winchester

    I blame the current situation on the politician who sat and did nothing for decades while criminal did whatever they want...

    June 5, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. bunit

    I was born in Kingston JA but grew up abroad. It is devastating to see the crimes against humanity. I have so many relatives living in JA and it saddens me to see the state of affairs. For all the ignorant people who post ignorant comments on this website, get an education before you post stupidity. If you know anything about JA you would know that people educated in JA have some of the best education in the world. That's why we can go anywhere in the world. As a college educated women who graduated at the top of her class, I agree with the person that mentioned legalizing the herb. JA should legalize the herb and use the money to create jobs for the poor people who just want to raise their families like everybody else. Corruption has unfortunately been apart of Jamaican society for years as it's been in many parts of the world especially the U.S., the only difference is the U.S. has all the money. To all my fellow Jamaicans, keep your heads up. We are a strong people. We are overcomers. God will avenge the wicked and his people will rise up. For my fellow Jamaicans living abroad, it's due time to help support the rebuilding of Jamaica. I am proud to be a Jamaican. One Love!

    June 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Namey namey

    I am also Jamaican born but raised in the US. Yes, I speak and write both English and Patio. You can call me a Jamerican. I am a hard worker and have accomplised a lot so far in my life. See not all Jamaicans are criminals or voilent. I am now an American citizen but my heart will be Jamaican 4ever! I love my country and its sad to see what has happened there. It has affected my relatives living in Kingston. I agree with u bunit. We are strong people and we will rise up from this again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am ready and willing to help rebuild our island! Peace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
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