BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

Jamaica unrest - who is to blame?

13:44 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

Jamaican security forces have defended their actions as at least 73 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and fighters loyal to a suspected drug trafficker sought by the US. What should be done to stop the violence?

Trouble began when the government announced it would arrest and extradite alleged druglord Christopher "Dudus" Coke to the US. His supporters set up barricades and said they would fight to protect him. It is not known if Mr Coke is still in Jamaica.

The government has denounced the unrest as a "calculated assault on the authority of the state". But supporters of Mr Coke say he is a community leader who feeds and supports poor residents - and ensures their security.

Are you in Jamaica? What is your experience of the civil unrest? Do you support the decision to extradite Mr Coke? Who is to blame for the troubles? What should the government do next?

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Whenever you have a small group of immenseley wealthy living along side a large group in total poverty these things tend to happen.

    This isn't to say that its morally bad to be either immenseley rich or very poor, more of an observation about human nature.

    Though I doubt Mr Coke is quite the social crusader he's being painted as.

    Similar problems in similar situations have occured everywhere from Haiti to South Africa.

  • Comment number 2.

    "But supporters of Mr Coke say he is a community leader who feeds and supports poor residents - and ensures their security."

    You mean like the mafia "protects" people in Italia? Exactly what would the people need to be protected from if there weren't any people like Mr. Coke around? He's the problem, not the solution.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    this has happened many many times before. the police and most other gov't and social institutions are infested with corruption.

    the only reson this is getting air-time in the west is because its a slow news day.

  • Comment number 5.

    "The government are very brave going up against a top gangster king, they are well armed with many friends, who will help them, what is needed to stop this this is American troops on the ground and in the air this crook empire, is all around europe and the U.S.A. and it will take very serious force to bring him to justice.

  • Comment number 6.

    The unpalatable truth is WE are all to blame. UK, USA, the rest, any nation that has a sizeable drug dependent population. Whether or not they may class themselves as “recreational” users. Without a market there are no sales persons, known in this case as dealers. C.f. without the greedy there would be no investment bankers!
    This Coke person may be a bad egg as the US say, or a good community person as those with guns say. Sorry that did is confused both wave guns without provocation!
    However, whilst unilaterally refusing extradition of is own politico and armed forces for international investigation the world’s only super power or as better shown bully – demands the removal of arbitrarily targeted individuals, without showing just cause but the rattling of both sabre and gun!
    Ain’t the American fraternity just dandy!

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    The government. They have known they had a serious problem with drug lords and criminals for a very long time, and they have done nothing to eliminate them from the country.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Drug dealing and ancilliary businesses are destroying the world. Everyone needs to get into therapy so they can deal with their emotional pain and stop heaping it on others. Massive greed and the lack of a quality education turns out drug dealers rather than doctors. Capitalists, Communists, Socialists, most political systems have left us with an untenable world. Is this our legacy to the world's children?

  • Comment number 14.

    "A state of emergency allowing police to conduct searches without a warrant and restrict movement was put in place"

    If I was in the area when this happened I would probably join those opposed to the police. I know its not a direct comparison between Jamaica and England but I would not stand for it this is oppression.

    The divide between the wealthy and poor in Jamaica is well hidden from tourists and is massive. with this kind of division there can be no society only haves and have nots.

  • Comment number 15.

    Now that Haiti's been decimated, does the USA need a new port to tranship drugs to West Africa? Stop government and corporate plunder and destruction of weak, island nations. It is reprehensible that mulinational banks are involved in laundering drug money. Stop killing people through your addictions.

  • Comment number 16.

    You either enforce the rule of law, or change the law itself.


    I sincerely hope that the Jamaican PM and his govt will deal with the situation. It shouldn't be beyond them to do so.


    So the ironically named "Mr. Coke" is a community activist and helper of the poor? It is not at all uncommon for kingpin racketeers to do so. Al Capone gave away money and free soup to the needy, in order to bolster his public support and image. More recent examples occur in Columbia, where drug lords like Pablo Escobar built houses for the poor and engaged in widespread philanthropy.


    That these social needs are real is beyond dispute. The question is, who is going to provide the leadership and resources, a legitimate elected govt, or a glorified dope pusher? For the Golding govt to allow the latter would be sharing power with a de facto shadow government. That this quasi leader Coke should be allowed to signal his displeasure by inciting mass rioting is something that needs to end. Golding had better get his country back. If he can't do that, then why not just legalise, tax and regulate the trade?


    As an aside, I often wonder what post Communist Cuba is going to be like. The history of nations that have dropped communism shows that organised crime and flaunting of the rule of law become one the likely outcomes. Given Cuba's proximity to the US drug market, as well as it's location, I fear that post communist Cuba will become the next major drug transshipment point. That of course may be going on now, but I predict that it will greatly increase after a change of economic and political regime. In the Jamaican disturbance, we could be looking at the future of Cuba.

  • Comment number 17.

    Perennial anarki and failed Governments.

    The country has been run by the wealthy criminals and
    that has (together with the general attitude of the
    public) demoralised the whole country.
    This was in making since a long time ago. maybe 50s & 60s.

    It will take at least 5 hundred to a thousand years before Jamaica
    and countries like it do see an organised ruling/governmental system.
    There has to be a core change in the DNA.

    However, miracles can happen. That is where Jesus and Muhammad
    and the other prophets get appreciated.

    God Bless Jamaica and help it.

  • Comment number 18.

    As an ex-Jamaican resident, I am saddened by the "I couldn't care" comments - the point is that as the ex-colonial power we should care, as the state of the Jamaican economy and its society is partly our fault, with the rest of the blame laying at the feet of the IMF and the USA for destroying Jamaica's economy because they did not like Michael Manley.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think a VIP or an opinion leader from Ethiopia has to go to to Jamaica to bring peace there! It was due to the visit of Jamaica by Emperor Haile Sellassie of Ethiopia that rained in Jamaica after long suffer from lack of rain.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Perhaps one day people will have a good look at their system and their establishment. That day will change the world...

  • Comment number 22.

    Drugs need their 'King' to control the flow and to collect and control the rewards! The rest of the 'Robin Hood' nonsence is just that. This man is a thife, liar and a coward surrounded by the same!

  • Comment number 23.

    The United States knew that any attempt to extradite Dudus Coke would trigger unrest in Kingston.This just further undermines the authority of an already weak and moribund government that has failed to provide for its people.

  • Comment number 24.

    I live in Jamaica and it is a beautiful country with lots of good people.
    As usual the minority of ignorant, selfish and anarchic people here are doing their own illegal activities, regardless of other peoples safety and well bein
    The Government past and present have been aware of the corruption and crimes afflicting society and chosen to let them "go on" rather than face political suicide.
    The present Government should have complied with the request to extradite Christpoher Coke to the U.S.A last August, possibly avoiding the situation we are in at the moment!



  • Comment number 25.

    "But supporters of Mr Coke say he is a community leader who feeds and supports poor residents - and ensures their security."

    Hmmm,Pablo Escober also gave to the poor but we all know about him and his business.

  • Comment number 26.

    Point of information for Shaunus in Poole - Jamaica gained full independence in 1962 - not two centuries ago...

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Who cares.

  • Comment number 29.

    Jamacia is in turmoil because of drugs. I think that Britain should send Ms Diane Abbott MP to sort out Jamacia's problem. Afterall she has the necessary experience in handling tough situations in her constituency. Also with a bit of luck she can elected into the Jamician government, where she can apply her vast political knowledge gained in Britain to bring calm and law into a unruly society.

  • Comment number 30.

    "But supporters of Mr Coke say he is a community leader who feeds and supports poor residents - and ensures their security."

    Yeah, and Hitler built the autobahn and Mussolini made the trains run on time.

  • Comment number 31.

    Jamaica is a beautiful island, just like any other country those who are in power abuse there authority and have have destroyed the country but not the people. Dudus is the voice for all the poor the people who Mr. Golding & teh rest of the "Showa posse" refuse to listen to.
    I have seen how this man works, he helped to build communities,schools for children to get an education, he gave suffering mothers a helping hand and has always been there for the poorer communities.

    What the media are failing to recognise & mention is that Mr. Coke helped Mr. Golding get into power with personal funding & he has supported the JLP for a very long time, once again the government has let his people down and has bit the hand that has helped him & the people around him.

    I was born in the UK but i am far more PROUD TO SAY I AM JAMAICAN. Jamaica is not all abou drugs, guns and violence, the government brings these tools of destruction as a way of eradacting the poor people he cannot be bothered to help.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    panchopablo's statement "Hmmm, Pablo Escobar also gave to the poor but we all know about him and his business" echoes the reality of the situation there as well as elsewhere. As long as you have an atmosphere of victim mentality, people like Mr. Coke will utilize his funding ability to draw them into his circle. The easy money will also buy him support from public and government officials as it does everywhere.
    Criminals are innocent until proven guilty, no matter what they are obviously guilty of, with a smoking gun in hand, influential supporters and deep pockets of cash to buy their way out if caught. That my friends is the reality that we live with every day, be it in Jamaica, or any other country in the world. Only the people can change these things, if they have the heart to do it!

  • Comment number 34.

    When Margaret Thatcher closed pits the financially affected took to the streets and used force. This is their No 1 industry that is being threatened in Jamaica, so the reaction is the same.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    I live in jamaica, not in one of the hotbed commu ities but certainly I could be affected by the violence directly bcz I have to drive through a currently volatile area(2 cops were shot there this morning @ 2am).

    The symbiotic relations between our wealthy citizens, poilical hierarchy and our criminals is finally being splashed before the world in a blatant way never before as fully exposed. It's disgusting!

    The ppl support Dudus bcz he gives them so many of their basic needs needs the social system in Ja cant or wont because they spend so much of our scarce resources lining "dem long pocket".

    Clearly he needs to go but unfortunately that wont fix our nasty sore. Their is too much frustration and anger and seething discontent and anguish in here . Do u know that as early as 1949 the Daily Gleaner reported on theses cosy relations between criminals and politicians, barely 5 yrs after universal adult sufferage1

    Our troubles whether they b the making of colonialism, capitalism or whatever r real and disturbing , mayb civil war , an uprising against the craziness that operates as a country is upon us.

    livin' in JA not easy. I am a decent law abiding citizen who may not b able to go to my honest job teaching the nation's children bcz the govt cant get is act together. Very scared.

  • Comment number 37.

    What the poor fail to realize is that Coke is using them as a human shield and has been using that way all along. This is not the first time a drug lord or other criminal type has done this and it won't be the last. Eventually, troops will have to be called in and take Coke dead or alive.

  • Comment number 38.

    It was God, God did it. Nah i don't buy my own argument there for a second; let me have a think about it.

  • Comment number 39.

    Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    "what is needed to stop this this is American troops on the ground and in the air"


    Yes, because that has worked so well in the past, and
    they've been so very welcome and appreciated in the places they go to help ...

    And of course the US has all this extra money to fling at
    nations who can't control themselves.

  • Comment number 40.

    The US and rest of the world need to end the "War on Drugs" and decriminalize drug usage. The Prohibition didn't work. We need to end the illegal market for drugs which puts billions of dollars into the hands of the bad guys all over the world and waste billions more pretending that we are reducing drug use while lots of innocent people get killed as collateral damage. Afghanistan, Mexico, Columbia, Jamaica and the inner-city neighborhoods would be safer once the illegal drug market were ended. Once we do that, we can start to work on the next level necessary to reduce problems, including economic development and the rule of law.

  • Comment number 41.

    I went to Jamaica 5 years ago and there were riot police on the streets in Kingston due to some drug baron or other who got shot. It's nothing new.

  • Comment number 42.

    The crooks and drug pusher barons should all be eliminated by the army , they send the stuff to our willing drug addicts the world over , money talks and so does the gun culture , people fear them and will say anything to keep from being hurt ..who can blame them, its time to take really tough action before the crooks take over everywhere , but with the pc etc etc that will never happen , the crooks will win and the pc will be finally finished .

  • Comment number 43.

    The people involved? Odd question!

  • Comment number 44.

    i long for the day when i can walk freely in Jamaica with out fear of being harmed by criminals. If these criminals dont change their evil ways, for sure God will send destuction on the land of Jamaica.

  • Comment number 45.

    My reaction is that anti-Americanism in Jamaica has finally reached the boiling point.
    If, as alleged, illegal wiretapping and anonymous witnesses are the “evidence”, I can't support the decision to extradite Dudus Coke? Regardless of his character (or lack thereof) legal processes must be followed; you can’t go around building an illegal case and then expect justice to follow.
    Therefore I blame the clumsy staff who put this case together.
    The left-leaning elites in Jamaica have gone into an anti-American frenzy. Why?
    Coke and his gang have carried on for years with little police intervention. Christopher 'Dudus' Coke has ties to political leaders, and more importantly loyalty from the resident poor.
    Why the showdown?
    Jamaica signed a extradition request from the United States. This came after delays upon delays and questions concerning Coke's "constitutional rights." Jamaica claimed that American law enforcement authorities had violated Coke's rights with unauthorized wiretaps as well as the use of anonymous witnesses. This gave his loyal constituency all the reason they needed to protect Coke.
    Dudus Coke has for years used his thugs to distribute crack, cocaine, and marijuana in New York City while weapons where smuggled back to Kingston.
    The Obama administration was supposed to bring in a new foreign policy and better relationships with other countries, but this extradition standoff, has fueled tensions. Why didn't the US go by the book? Why did it resort to illegal wiretapping and anonymous witnesses?
    This should have been a routine extradition, but to American consternation, Jamaica's political leaders ignored their treaty obligations. What would Jamica gain from the Coke extradition? After all, Coke and other strongmen controlled entire neighbourhoods of Kingston, each area known as a "garrison." Divided along political lines, the garrisons have ties with Jamaica's two political parties. Henchmen ensure that voters go to the polls and support what the the politicians have bought and paid for. Coke's own ties are with Jamaica's Labor Party.
    Besides operating illegal activities the "community leader" distributes government patronage jobs (road repair and construction) along with gratuities from illegal activities. By extraditing Coke, Prime Minister Golding and the Jamaica Labor Party risk losing a major pool of poor voters. Worse still, extraditing Coke could well ignite civil unrest, which is already growing.
    The standoff has been Jamaican front-page news for months. Would Jamaica act (or not) to please the Americans? After all, Jamaica's two main sources of foreign exchange are aide and tourism from America. These amount to hundreds of millions of dollars of US foreign aid. Jamaica, of course, has other foreign exchange - like trans-shipment for Colombian cocaine and exporting marijuana to the United States.
    Jamaica's left-leaning elites blame the United States for its insistence that Jamaica honor its questionabe extradition treaty. Indeed, the extradition standoff provoked raging anti-Americanism. Jamaica questioned the correctness of America’s action; it more than insinuated that the United could be wrong. There was talk about President Barack Obama was only seeking to restore America's image and credibility. There was talk bouit American "bullying" and "imperialism".
    Meanwhile The Shower Posse has continued business as usual.
    During the extradition standoff, Jamaica's Parliament exploded with accusations that Prime Minister Golding's government had paid $400,000 to the prestigious law firm of "Manatt, Phelps & Phillips" to convince the Obama administration not to extradite Coke.
    The United States deciding to play tough with Jamaica, had its State Department cancel visas to top officials. US officials allegedly leaked information to Jamaica newspapers to underscore that they mean business. According to a report in the Jamaica Observer last March, the US had satellite photos showing Jamaican political leaders and officials visiting Coke's stronghold in West Kingston.
    Many Jamaicans are fed up with Jamaca's thug culture and dismal economy. They themselces refer to their own country as a "failed state".
    Whatever happens in Jamaica, Prime Minister Golding's political career is in doubt. If Jamaica's most notorious drug kingpin makes it into a US courtroom, one can only assume the stories he could tell about his country's drug trade.
    Probably the arrest of Shower Posse members in Toronto on May 3 also had something to do with it Golding making his own admissions. This quickly developed into demands for his resignation. The possibility has now arisen that Shower Posse members could make a plea bargain that would implicate Dudas Coke.
    This would mean that both the US and Canada would want him, but based on the bona fide evidence, Canada would get him (not the US).
    Hopefully with Coke out of Jamaica and Golding sitting politically unprotected, Golding will take advantage of the situation to rebuild honest politics in Jamica.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    i think the PM MUST BE BLAMED AND THE WHOLE JLP IS TO BE BLAMED
    AND THEY ARE THE REAL ARCHITECTURE OF THE WHOLE SYSTEM
    OF BAD MAN AND DON TING WISH IT WAS THE GOVERNMENT WAS THE THAT WAS BEING
    EXTRADITED

  • Comment number 48.

    Jamaica unrest - who is to blame? The criminals.

  • Comment number 49.

    take bruce golding out of the government and get mr coke? mr coke is not helping poor people residents.or supports poor people he takeing money from poor people for security.i say to the us go in and get him and rebuild jamaica

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    There's violent drug lords in Jamaica?! Oh My God! This is all completely new information!!
    They've been there for a very long time and if the government are serious about 'removing' them they are going to need more than local coppers. These guys are well financed, well armed and will not mess about.

  • Comment number 52.

    At 3:13pm on 24 May 2010, confusus wrote:
    The unpalatable truth is WE are all to blame.

    Don't be so quick to accept the blame in my behalf. Until I read the story I had never even heard of the bloke.

  • Comment number 53.

    Unrest against abuse of authority, seems to be becoming increasingly popular. Athens, Bangkok, Kingstown..

    If governments don't listen to their people, the *best* you can hope for is some social unrest.

    The way it is going, I might just start a guillotine manufacturing company and make "a killing" in the business :D

  • Comment number 54.

    If it's the drugs you want to talk about, and the fact that they're having trouble arresting a "drug lord". Then consider that these "drugs lords" could not afford a personal army, if they weren't financed by the spoils of black market drugs pricing.

    Had drugs not been illegal, this man would not have gained this influence.

  • Comment number 55.

    Apparently the anonymity allows many of u to make ridiculous satements. As beseiged as we r we dont need the us coming into our country to make things worse. Some of us need to wake up !

  • Comment number 56.

    I have just been in touch with relatives in Jamaica and they are saying that this situation is one of the worst they have ever faced in Jamaica. I guess the Americans will have to get involved at some point to deal with this. I hope that the BBC continue to update us on what is happening as there are a lot of concerned family members in Britain.

  • Comment number 57.

    34. At 6:38pm on 24 May 2010, Tom Hill wrote:
    When Margaret Thatcher closed pits the financially affected took to the streets and used force. This is their No 1 industry that is being threatened in Jamaica, so the reaction is the same.

    Seriously ? You are comparing miners to drug lords ?

    Perhaps then it was a good jib that Maggie got rid of them. Instead of everyone snorting the white stuff they would be doing it with the back stuff.

    Yes the my comment is ridiculous but you started it.

  • Comment number 58.

    What a strange item to put on a UK hys do we know anything about Jamaica or its internal worlings ...why not concentrate on the UK where we have serious problems of our own caused by this new government

  • Comment number 59.

    Perhaps Mr Christopher Coke should give himself up to prevent more bloodshed and the loss of innocent lives.
    I can't see the police or security forces backing down on this one.
    I say this regardless of the illegality or otherwise of the manner in which 'evidence' was gathered.
    The fact that Mr Coke's supporters are heavily armed and are prepared to protect him and their interests is an indication itself of something that needs to be dealt with - by force if need be.

  • Comment number 60.

    At the time and especially today Robin Hood would be hunted down as a ganster and criminal even if he did give his loot to the poor.

    Just because the authorities say he's bad doesn't make it so.

  • Comment number 61.

    "But supporters of Mr Coke say he is a community leader who feeds and
    supports poor residents" ... "supporter" of the Cray brothers said the
    same, for the same reason ... they wanted to live.

  • Comment number 62.

    What a sily question. These are criminals fact. A lawless community fed by a corrupt police and government. I pity the law abiding citizens who are no doubt living in great fear not knowing who to turn to for help. I doubt there is anyone. Get real and ask a serious question how are we going to remove the scourge of corruption from our so called civilized societies?

  • Comment number 63.

    Years of misrule, years in bed with criminals to get votes in large numbers via threats of violence, a blind eye towards the drug trade, a blind eye towards the people who are arming themselves, total lack of respect for the police, corruption and total incompetence from the politicians have all led to the present day problems. The only way to get Jamaica back to lawful society would be to administer it from outside, the local politicians are just unfit to run the country.

  • Comment number 64.

    I wonder which drugs lord is the worst kind, the cocaine peddler or Pzifer, Glaxo and the rest. And why are so many countries only too willing to hand over their citizens to the US ? The people of Jamaica are right to resist. It isn't for America and other self righteous nations to decide what's good and what's bad. Besides, this drugs lord provides a living to thousands and I can fully understand their reaction if you try and take their living away.

  • Comment number 65.

    Jamaica has a lot of educated and wealthy people. In the garrison community some of the citizens do not wish to work for a living because it's easier to live free. Dudus Coke provide that freeness for a price of which they don't mind for living in the lap of luxury. Not everyone living there is the same, but portrays the same mentality, so as not to be branded and spare their family's lives. Speaking as a Jamaican who loves my country, it is heart rending to see the good suffering for the bad, as people like Dudus Coke and others hold our country at ransom. Enough is enough, their are good descent people who work hard for a living only to watch it been "TAKEN AWAY" by notorious criminals like Dudus Coke. The heads of government need to be investigated as well. The authorities need to investigate how those high powered weapon fall into the hands of these lawless men many of which are children.

  • Comment number 66.

    No 56 H Hinds wrote:
    I have just been in touch with relatives in Jamaica...... I guess the Americans will have to get involved at some point to deal with this.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think Hinds you'll find that it is US interference in your country in the first place that is ripping it apart.

  • Comment number 67.

    In Afghanistan, the US is protecting warlords who are cultivating poppy. In Jamaica, it is demanding the extradition of someone who plays much the same role in providing his people with a living. Why the double standards ? Maybe because there is no Jamaican Taliban for the US to worry about ?

    I do not condone drugs but I can understand why desperately poor people do what they do to scrape a living. And frankly, the problem isn't with the supply side but the demand side. America should address the reasons why its people turn to drugs rather than make criminals of desperately poor people.

  • Comment number 68.

    I offer up to Mr. Coke the memory and message of one of the great classics of rock steady Jamaican music:

    "Pressure Drop" by Toots and the Maytals (1969)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ao3Z5I6FI8


    They are singing about him!

  • Comment number 69.

    Jamaicans!

  • Comment number 70.

    Obviously the crime gangs. Wipe them out.

  • Comment number 71.

    What bothers me about the whole situation is that people are equating Christopher Coke to a saviour. He has gained a god like status because of his ability to provide employment through his many business ventures, as well as his ability to maintain calm in Tivoli through the execution of his own form of justice. This is disgraceful to say the least. If the allegations against 'Dudus' are true he is definately doing more harm than good. The foundation for all of these investments is blood money and moreover is just a cover up mechanism to conceal the source of the funds. Drugs destroy families and destabilize the social and economic systems oof a country. Guns are no saving grace as we all know their potential- look at our murder rate and state of economy. 'Dudus' has allegedly constructed an illegitimate legal system much like the one during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and we all know how that turned out. Jamaicans need to be educated to get out of their state of dependency and to hold their government accountable.

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm not a West Indian but I've lived in close proximity to their communities and I am friends with some of them. What I've noticed is something that has similarities in communities of various races and nationalities, especially amongst many younger males. Violence is often glorified and the gang consumes anyone who rejects it or is too weak to resist. They then become the foot soldiers and dealers in their community. Music and popular culture adds to the mystique and education and personal ambition is often frowned upon.
    This isn't an accident, it is carefully monitored and controlled to inhibit change within a community, which leads to total control and often to the enslavement of many. Society will break down if we allow it to continue untethered, but in order to do so we have to regulate those within our number who are often preaching as false prophets for good in all aspects of our society. Whether it be financial regulation, political transparency, health and education reforms or fair taxation. We have to set standards that are deemed to be effective and honest.
    Otherwise, we allow all the dubious characters of this world to exploit communities in rebellion as a vehicle for their own fulfillment. Wealth, celebrity status and privilege have given us false gods who provide dangerous benchmarks for younger people. Their very existence and acceptance simply point to society's tolerance of an imbalance in humanity, which often allows for actions and decisions in poorer communities which have serious and far reaching consequences.
    I would like to think that my children grow up in a fair and tolerant society where everybody is respected for their ability and offered the same opportunities through education and provided with an equal health system.
    Should we fail to recognize this basic need, we are then allowing the gang leaders of this world to take advantage of the weaker members of our world and we will eventually reap what we sow. In financial terms, it is not cost effective, in human terms, it is unfair and it goes against any idea of evolution and is in effect regression. Have we not learned and do we simply pay lip service to all those that we pay homage to without really considering the implementation of a society that actually works for all it's members. Mr Coke is a product of his environment and we as people of the world have got to start preventing these problems rather than trying to cure them. Entertainment is a a false god, give our children health and education! Who will spring up in Coke's place ? The problem doesn't go away that easily........wake up!

  • Comment number 73.

    I would have blamed the people for not rising up against the government to crack down on drugs and drug barons. But, looking at it from another stand point, it is like drugs are a way of life in Jamaica. Regardless of the effects of drugs, the people embrace them and especialy the youths,are addicted to them. Whose fault? the government for failing to take the drugs issue on from the initial stage for becoming the social issue it is now. So why now? when drugs have really socially promoted Jamaica in the outside world in some way. "Ya man, give me the Kuttchi" Jah Rastafari! figet dat Mann, Dem nor sober".

  • Comment number 74.

    I am a student living in Jamaica at this time, the situation here in in Kingston is tense and most businesses have been closed and will be closed tomorrow. The downtown area is completely blocked and restricted to police personnel. There are numerous fires in the downtown area, and the unrest has moved as far as uptown- Manning Hill Rd, Marcus Garvey Dr. and Red Hills Rd. The Spanish Town area has also had some unrest and the police station has been fired upon. At this time many Jamaican including myself are afraid that the situation will spread further into Kingston and surrounding areas.
    I support the decision made by the Prime Minister to extradite Coke, my opinion is that the PM should have made this decision earlier and he may have prevented the extent of the unrest here in Jamaica. A few days ago many Jamaican in downtown Kingston had a demonstration saying that they would "die for dudus" now that they are facing a war with the police in Tivoli Gardens many of these same persons are crying out saying that they want help.
    Who is to blame? this is the questions many Jamaicans ask, my opinion stands that this is not only on the part of the Pm Mr. Bruce Golding, but also on his Government and also on the hands of the former head of the party Mr. Seaga. The PM should have made the decision to extradite Coke as soon as the US government asked for him and not let it be a matter for the Jamaican Private and Public sector suffering the results of this unrest.

  • Comment number 75.

    America is to blame for yet more unrest in another country. In an attempt to appease the American Warlord, Jamaica is killing it's own women and children. If Christopher Coke goes to America and commits a crime then the Americans should prosecute him. If he commits a crime in Jamaica let the Jamaicans deal with it.

    Stop Killing Innocent Bystanders there is no such thing as collateral damage It's just plain Murder!

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    The fact that this man who is apparently rather infamous locally and 'globally' to some extent is in the Prime Minister's 'district' is pretty embarrassing. After all, if he can't keep his district 'clean' what chance does he have of doing it for the entire country?

  • Comment number 79.

    Here we have Mr. Coke in Jamaica. The Taliban with their opium fields in Afghanistan not to mention the Mexican drug cartels in charge of illegal drugs throughout much of the world. Take the profit out of illegal drugs and make them legal. A no brainer. Who else gains from this state of affairs ? Eliminate them also !!!!

  • Comment number 80.

    The rule of the jungle is back in the open in many countries of the world - from Asia to Africa and from Jamaica to Timbuktu et al. Even the law enforcers are afraid of the underworld and are hesitant to risk their lives. This happens even in civilised countries with the rule of law. Moreover, corruption is rampant among the guardians of law where a close nexus exists between the ganglords and the police or the politicians. Sadly the maxim of Might is Right prevails that is corroding the very fibre of society.

  • Comment number 81.

    People are REBELLING against JA Govt caving-in to US Domineering. Seems Extradition and US is strictly a ONE-WAY Street. Anytime a US Citizen is accused by a Foreign Nation they DISAPPEAR into the population or gets exoneratted by a KANGAROO Court, plus US REFUSED to sign-on to World-Court in Hague.

    Single Item Rioting in POOR countries have in common is WB & IMF STRANGLEHOLD on Govts. With over 70% of Revenues going to Service Debt, Jamaicans pay DOUBLE what Wealthy Nations pay for FOOD.
    Not only does POOR pay HIGHER Interest, but WB & IMF set Conditions to RETARD Development. For instance, IMF Loans cannot be used to Assist Farmers who might compete with Wealthier Nations, same for Manufacturing.
    People in Wealthy Nations cannot even fathom a WORKING-Person only able to afford to buy ONE Aspirin at a time when feeling ill.
    I know of someone who died from a Diabetic Coma because the Hospital didn't have any Strips for testing.

    eg: Venezuela forgave Haiti's Debt within two days of Earthquake. Canada then proposed G8 Forgive Haiti's Debt, US REFUSED, so G8 Haiti Debt REMAINS plus cost of those War-Ships Haiti didn't ask for.
    Even The little you have will be TAKEN AWAY. CAPITALISM US Style:- PREDATOR and PREY.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    illegal drugs in another way to make other people rich and powerful, like during the prohibition days in the USA. There's more people that build 5 star hotels in my area that had Great Grandfathers that made money during prohibition. So the best way to lay siege to the gangs within and outside the USA, is to legalize drugs.

  • Comment number 84.

    And what "drug" are we talking about - money and/or something else?

    Is the planet "richer from the rich" or "richer from the poor"?

    Just more evidence of twisted morality.

  • Comment number 85.

    The blame lies 100% with us Jamaicans. Unfortunately, our culture is to quickly blame everyone else - until we are able to admit that we have a problem with our culture, our morals, our society as a whole, there is no solution. Our inability to separate right from wrong - our sense that we are entitled to everything - our ignorance which leads us to settle things through violence - our culture which condones stealing and mocks hard work - somehow Jamaicans have to come to believe there is nothing wrong with this.
    In our society today - decent people of Kingston have to live behind bars, have to be off the street by 9:00 p.m. and when you park your car, pray that it will be there when you return - and somehow we think this is ok.
    In our society today - our people will steal land, steal water and light and think nothing about it.

    Over the past 10 years Jamaica's biggest exporter has been criminals - in USA, Canada and England, communities predominately occupied by Jamaicans, we here reports of drive by shootings, drug dealings, murder - can anyone name one Jamaican community overseas that has prospered? And still we deny that something is seriously wrong with our culture.

    Instead we cling to the glory of our past, when a few Jamaicans through their immense talent blazed a trail spreading the name Jamaica across the globe, however, interestingly we have not produced anyone to come close to Bob Marley - I ask my people how do you feel when the biggest reggae artist now comes from Israel?

    Our country has not had an effective leader for over 20 years - our current Prime Minister answers to Dudus - a wanted drug lord - Mr. Golding would not have been elected without his permission.

    People need to understand that under our electoral system every politician has to first be elected in a constituency before he can become a Minister of Government and that includes our Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party - but if he does not win his constituency he does not have a seat in government. Hence, this led to the creation of garrison constituency which ensures that the leader of the party will always win his seat. Tivoli was created by Edward Seaga (Prime Minister of Jamaica in the 1980's)- good housing, good schools, decent infrastructure ensured Mr. Seaga had a secured seat as long as he was a politician. When both political parties started to arm their garrison constituency things took a turn for the worse - and today we are seeing what happens when a garrison constituency becomes a 'Republic' with its own President.

  • Comment number 86.

    This is the bite in the butt from political history wherein political constituencies came under attack from rival political thugs whose objective was to displace votes. Constituencies became garrisons for defensive purposes, becoming heavily armed, sometimes by politicians themselves. These armed constituency gangs then became criminalized as they were protected by their politicians, and operated with impunity. And so on and so forth, the snowball has rolled downhill, and is now out of control. In summary, Jamaica cannot shake this until the people themselves change, get fed up and say in unity "NO MORE OF THIS". Politicians, the police, the military, none can change it, only you the jamaican people have the power, exercise it!!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    Unfortunately the issue is similar to what we can find in many third-world countries: the mafia, the warlords and druglords find support because they bring money into the country, the give "jobs" (so-called) to many people, thus putting food on the table for many families.

    It doesn't mean I support mr "Dudus" but what exactly are the western countries doing to alleviate the situation? Are they giving jobs to the jamaicans? No, they participate in black and gray weapons market thus making sure conflicts are fueled with guns, ending lives and spreading poverty.

    Sure, "Dudus" is part of the problem, but right now his supporters have no alternative.

  • Comment number 88.

    Who is to blame? It's obvious, drug addicts, the scourge of the modern world. No drug addicts, no drug suppliers, no drug production, no violence, peace, order and tranquility.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    18. At 4:48pm on 24 May 2010, kevin wrote:

    As an ex-Jamaican resident, I am saddened by the "I couldn't care" comments - the point is that as the ex-colonial power we should care, as the state of the Jamaican economy and its society is partly our fault, with the rest of the blame laying at the feet of the IMF and the USA for destroying Jamaica's economy because they did not like Michael Manley.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Your comments typifies the current trend it would seem for seeking to blame anyone and anything other than those who are actually responsible.

    When jamacia attained independence, from that point the destiny of Jamacia was soley in the hands of the Jamacians. The unfortunate issue with Jamacia it would seem is that despite being an island of immense beauty and renound for giving the world reggae, it also has a more seedier reputation of drugs and gang violence. There is no one to blame for this other than the Jamacians. It seems to be the way of such countries that they are incapable of living a life without resorting to violence crime and corruption! Why is this, i just don't get it?

    I really do hate to be the one to break this to you, but there is no one other than those Jamacians involved in this open warfare to blame for this and the state of your country.

  • Comment number 91.

    6 Confusus

    "The unpalatable truth is WE are all to blame. UK, USA, the rest, any nation that has a sizeable drug dependent population. Whether or not they may class themselves as “recreational” users. Without a market there are no sales persons, known in this case as dealers. C.f. without the greedy there would be no investment bankers!
    This Coke person may be a bad egg as the US say, or a good community person as those with guns say. Sorry that did is confused both wave guns without provocation!
    However, whilst unilaterally refusing extradition of is own politico and armed forces for international investigation the world’s only super power or as better shown bully – demands the removal of arbitrarily targeted individuals, without showing just cause but the rattling of both sabre and gun!
    Ain’t the American fraternity just dandy!"

    I'd agree that those who indulge in recreational drugs in the west - by and large the people who think themselves a bit 'right-on' and anti-Daily Mail - do feed the problems in places like Jamaica.

    So let's have the strict border controls and drug enforcement here that are required to stop the trade - but I bet you'd be among the first to say that was Daily Mail- driven, racist, blah di blah.

    And you people need to question your own assumption, that the problems in countries like Jamaica (or Pakistan, India, most of Africa, for that matter) are never the fault of the countries, people and cultures themselves, and that the west is always to blame. It probably makes you feel better, but it's wrong.




  • Comment number 92.

    As always on HYS the answer is blindingly obvious....

    We need a Government with some guts to introduce what many would see as horrific laws to deal with the drug users and dealers that infest this country. Caught three times in posession or with an amount of drugs suitable for dealing, then it's the death penalty.

    WIth such laws here drug barons would have no money to organise private armies - simples!

    But cant see Dave or Nick ever having the bottle to do what is required.

  • Comment number 93.

    Q: Are you in Jamaica?
    A: No. I live in Europe. I accepted Michael Manley’s invitation to take “one of the five flights out of Jamaica” if we did not approve of his vision of an egalitarian society. (I voted for his party in 1972 but soon understood that his vision of an egalitarian society meant making the “haves” the target of the anger of the “have-nots”. I have never regretted my decision to leave).

    Q: What is your experience of the civil unrest?
    A: I follow the news media on a daily basis and I correspond by e-mail and telephone with my friends and family on an almost daily basis. I still have business interests in Jamaica and visit the Island about 3 or 4 times a year.

    Q: Do you support the decision to extradite Dudus Coke?
    A: I believe that this is a matter of law, best left to the judiciary.

    Q: Who is to blame for the troubles?
    A: If by “the troubles” you mean the current unrest, then the immediate cause is obviously the resistance by an alleged criminal to submit to the judicial process that allows him to demonstrate his innocence. If you mean Jamaica’s troubles, then the answer to that would require a lengthy dissertation. In short, the answer that you would get would run from:
    • “Great Britain”, [for bringing free men and women from
    Africa and enslaving them in a system that placed the “white man” as the master and the “black man” as the servant. Until that paradigm could be replaced by an egalitarian society, the 300 year resistance that the enslaved “black man” fought against Britain would know no end.]
    • “Michael Manley”, [for trying to introduce an egalitarian society by raising the level of animosity of the “black man” to the “white man” with his clever rhetoric of promises that the “black man” would be taking over the “white man’s” privileged position almost immediately. This alienated the privileged who migrated, mainly to the U.S.A., Canada and the UK with the benefit of their privilege – their wealth, good education, social refinement. Those Jamaican migrants, in large part, continue to enrich their adopted homelands. The void that the emigrants left in Jamaica’s business, professional and cultural structure was quickly filled by the new elite: The carpet bagger. In the context of Jamaica, this person could be identified as an aggressive, (usually) hard working individual who found that status could be achieved by money, without any of the refinements that the British class system demanded of its upper classes (in Jamaica these were mostly the white, landed, merchant or professional class, but there are, and were, highly refined black men and women with the refinements of class). Written and spoken English was fast giving way to the local vernacular. Now fewer than 50% of Jamaicans speak and write the English language correctly, in spite of a more accessible free educational system that Manley introduced.]
    • “Successive Governments”, [for failing to identify the effects of change that Jamaica’s transition to independence from Britain brought. Manley wrote, in his book, “The Politics of Change”: “Change breeds fear”. He – and successive governments – failed to recognize that fear bred flight of capital (human and material); created the environment in which illicit activities thrived amidst the chaos that fear wrought; led people to arm themselves against the uncivil society; replaced a civil society with one that thrived on the “haves” buying protection from the most vicious elements of the new society. Politicians came to power by aligning themselves with these vicious elements. The vicious elements expanded their power base by going international with the model that they had operated in Jamaica. Successive governments have failed to require Jamaicans to raise their standards. Jamaican entrepreneurs, hoteliers, professionals, athletes, scholars, musicians, nurses, craftsmen, enrich other countries with their skills. Their counterparts who live and work in Jamaica do so in the midst of incivility and coarseness that has become an accepted norm for Jamaican life.]
    • “Foreign Governments”, [for deporting Jamaican criminals within their jurisdictions back to Jamaica. The skills of the craft that the deported criminal has learnt in the metropolitan countries is used to refine and expand the modus operandi of the home-based criminal. Routes for drug distribution are refined and enlarged; international criminal contacts are shored up; influence is easily bought – in Jamaica and abroad - with the illegally accumulated wealth; an informal economy thrives on the proceeds of the “laundered” wealth. A State that could barely afford basic police protection for its citizens has been overwhelmed by criminals whose armies comprise the illiterate, the poor and desperate, gunrunners, drug dealers and dishonest politicians who are maintained by the wealth that illicit activities bring. In short, the criminals outgun and out-influence the State.]
    • I could go on, but the answer would fill a tome.

    Q: How can Jamaica solve its problems?
    A: There is no short-term solution. The alleviation of poverty is the aim of all civilized societies. Jamaica cannot provide social benefits for all of its citizens. Yet by international standards, Jamaica still does a creditable job of providing health, nutritional and housing benefits for a large percentage of its population. But lack of sufficient economic activity to support a burgeoning population, and lack of education, both contribute to drive more than 10% of the population into criminality in order to survive. Civil order cannot be imposed on a population that knows only the status quo as their idea of a social order. It takes the twinning of taxation of the informal economy together with the honest and transparent use of tax dollars for the social good to make Jamaicans respect their politicians. The most recent exposure of the link between politicians and criminals has brought the need for honesty in public life into focus. Perhaps now Jamaicans can rally around this unfortunate chapter of civil unrest to form a new political party out of volunteers from a slate of honest and capable Jamaicans – in Jamaica and overseas – who would be prepared to volunteer their services to the people of Jamaica for 5 years in order to get the old order out and bring in the new. Then the re-building of civil order can begin. They would certainly have my vote.

    Q: What should the Government do next?
    • A: Meet with the Opposition together with the collection of professional and business organizations and leaders of business to consider administering the affairs of State in a coalition mode for an agreed period of time. (This can be done within the terms of Jamaica’s Constitution if the political parties agree to cooperate).
    • Then call on PM Golding to resign and invite a respected Jamaican to head up the coalition (s/he can be appointed a Senator or, if the Constitution requires that s/he be an elected MP, then provide a safe seat and have a by-election). (Michael Lee Chin/Butch Stewart/Raymond Chang . . . how about 5 years in the public service?). The present government operates with a slim majority of 4 out of 60 seats in Parliament. This indicates that almost as many people favour one party as much as the other.
    • Incorporate the church leaders and the “dons” in informal talks in order to emphasize to the dons that their day has ended, and to solicit the help of the churches in spreading the word of a cleansing of Jamaica’s criminal elements.

  • Comment number 94.

    The Jamaicans themselves and their leadership are to be blamed.

    Until now they have been creating havoc and misery in other
    countries - destroying generations of youth - but now the
    chicken has come back home to roost.

    All these countries that decide to depend on and promote
    drug trafikking will sooner or later see their own
    people and countries go down the drain. It is
    inevitable.

    Perhaps it is not too late and they can come out of this
    by seriously changing their mindset (it can take hundreds
    of years) and join the civilised world of decent way of
    living.

    Perhaps the Church can do a lot in these countries to
    avert total break-down of their society.

    I hope that they make it.

  • Comment number 95.

    Drugs are a bane on society. Unscrupulous drug dealers are not bothered about the mayhem they cause. They are only interested in money; the profit motive drives them to extreme measures where their ill-gotten gains matter most. They do not care if innocent lives are destroyed. The Jamaican police and army officials will have to use the toughest measures to contain these grave disturbances. Law and order should be a priority. Perhaps they could learn from Singapore where tough measures including capital punishment deter hardened criminals from drug trafficking.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    If the Drug lord is so powerful then the Jamaican authorities have lost the war.

  • Comment number 98.

    The USA and the IMF are to blame for the mess in each and every country in the world.

  • Comment number 99.

    Politicians and Drug lords in JA go hand in hand. EX JLP PM Edward Seaga was supporting Dudus's father a longtime ago, and now Bruce is doing the same for Dudus, but a bit of pressure from the US has forced his hand.

    All of these guys are criminals Politicians who support the drug dealers/traffickers home and away. Jamaica are always going to the IMF cap in hand , begging for money which is going to be used to support luxurious lifestyles and supporting their own Political drug sectors. Replace the government for absolute change (But there will be Bloodshed).

    Jamaica should have never gained their Independence from England. Look at Haiti, the first Black free Nation of of the Western World. Compare it to the Bahamas, Bermuda. How many killings do they have a year , compared to Jamaica ?. Look at the foreign exchange rate ?

    There is a big poverty gap. and it needs to be filled by industry for jobs and Education for knowledge. Bauxite is dug out from the earth for a return of pittance, export of agricultural produce has more or less been stifled. The only thing Jamaica has earning money is Tourism and Drugs. This has to change from the Top down and Bottom up.

    Jamaica has so much potential, but it is being swindled away. What did Marcus Garvey, Nanny, Bustamante, Norman Manley, George William Gordon, Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle fight for ? was it all in vain.

  • Comment number 100.

    "88. At 08:27am on 25 May 2010, Len Sayer wrote:
    Who is to blame? It's obvious, drug addicts, the scourge of the modern world. No drug addicts, no drug suppliers, no drug production, no violence, peace, order and tranquility."

    I wish I could be as self-rightousness as you, I really do.

    "92. At 10:37am on 25 May 2010, pzero wrote:
    As always on HYS the answer is blindingly obvious....

    We need a Government with some guts to introduce what many would see as horrific laws to deal with the drug users and dealers that infest this country. Caught three times in posession or with an amount of drugs suitable for dealing, then it's the death penalty.

    WIth such laws here drug barons would have no money to organise private armies - simples!

    But cant see Dave or Nick ever having the bottle to do what is required."

    Yep. Doesn't work else where, but it might work here! Idiot. Despite how ridiculous and hypocritical our current drug laws are, I'm glad I don't live in a country that would gladly execute its citizens for what they choose to do with their own body.


 

Page 1 of 4

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.