5. Statement by Civil Society Coalition. June 5, 2010

Fourteen Jamaican civil society organisations, four umbrella church organisations and four academics have formed a coalition and released a ,  statement signaling their ‘intent ‘to ensure transparency and accountability in national leadership’.,   This is a welcome development and the measures proposed by the Coalition are deserving of widespread support.
I would like to suggest that there are two issues not mentioned in the statement that need to be addressed. One is support for a genuinely independent enquiry into the operation by the security forces at Tivoli Gardens that left at least 73 people dead. As the government has already promised an enquiry, and the Public Defender has begun to take statements on the matter; the signatories to the statement could have explicitly affirmed their support for this process and indicated that they intend to hold the government accountable for its integrity. Their statement does this in relation to several other commitments announced by the Prime Minister.
In so doing, the signatories would have made it absolutely clear that, while supporting the security forces in the lawful exercise of their functions; they regard the lives, rights and dignity of all Jamaicans as deserving of respect irrespective of their social status, social connections, political affiliation or place of residence.
Secondly, one would have wanted to see reference to the need for massive and effective social interventions in Jamaica’s inner cities and depressed communities island-wide; in order to address the conditions under which thousands of citizens have turned to criminal activity as sources of livelihood and to criminal gangs for the provision of welfare services and security. (I recall a statistic that an estimated one-third of the Jamaican population live in ‘squatter’-i.e. informal-settlements; and another from an official source that there are an estimated 200 criminal gangs with 4,000 members in operation).
By omitting reference to the socio-economic conditions which have fertilised the lethal connection between politics and organised crime, the signatories risk the appearance of suggesting that the current crisis can be resolved merely by setting up formal mechanisms to severe this connection-which is certainly necessary-while ignoring the pressing need for social justice and economic opportunity for all Jamaicans. In this connection I have just read a government announcement of a Programme to Transform Vulnerable Communities, for which support by the private sector and non-government organisations is being invited-what position will the Coalition take on this development?
Hopefully these issues will be addressed in the future by the Coalition.

4. The continuing ‘Dudus’ debacle. June 1, 2010

There seems to be no end to the sorry tale of the botched handling of the ‘Dudus’ extradition affair by the Government of Jamaica. A death toll of at least 76, including 73 civilians, a marked disproportion between the number of civilian deaths and the number of firearms recovered by the,   security forces, mounting charges of human rights abuses and chilling accounts of the conditions prevalent in the Tivoli community, are some of the disconcerting tales to surface after one of the most tragic and shameful weeks in modern Jamaican history. Amidst all this ‘Dudus’ is still at large, and conflicting accounts are being given of negotiations between him and at least two interlocutors, which were aborted by the coordinated attacks on the agencies of the state on May 23,   followed by the assault on Tivoli by the army and police on May 24. Information is also coming to light on the extent of public funding for enterprises controlled by ‘Dudus’ and his associates by means of government contracts. Meanwhile the governmment’s Attorney General has reportedly done an ‘about turn’ in explaining the decision to sign the extradition request for the reputed drug lord–an account at odds with that previously given by the Prime Minister.,   The bright spot on the horizon is the growing national consensus for a political renewal in Jamaica, reflected in several of the items reproduced below.

3. Government ineptitude, governance crisis May 30, 2010.

The violent events in Jamaica in the week of May 23-30 were the tragic culmination of the inept handling of the ‘Dudus’ extradition matter by a government that is deeply compromised, like the Opposition party, by an unholy alliance between politicians and criminal,  ,  organisations that became established in the decades since Jamaica attained nationhood. Electoral democracy and state sovereignty, the two principal pillars of Jamaica’s post-colonial dispensation, are clearly at risk; while the society is terrorised by a relentless wave of criminal violence which the organs of the state appear powerless to control. This,  is a crisis of governance and politics that will not be resolved merely by the military occupation of a community, the extradition of a single individual or the resignation of a Prime Minister. Civil Society organisations in Jamaica, the media, and a wide-cross section of citizens in all walks of life are speaking out to demand accountability, transparency and the severing of links between criminal organisations and politics. They are saying that the present crisis must be used as an opportunity for political reform and social,   renewal.

Nothing New, Minister? Follow the E-mail Trail Godon Robinson

The Suicidal Bruce Golding Mark Wignall

‘Take Back Jamaica’ Makes Demands of Country

Coalition Of Civil Society Groups Signals Intent To Ensure Transparency And Accountability In National Leadership June 4, 2010

Government must Resign Now so we can Rebuild Jamaica Jamaicans United For Sustainable Development

Prime Minister Golding’s Web of Deceipt Abe Dabdoub, Attorney at Law

Wanted: a National Movement Lloyd B Smith

Building a new political architecture in Jamaica Rosalea Hamilton

My Tour of Tivoli Lloyd D’Aguilar

Massacre in Tivoli Gardens Ken Chaplin

Something went horribly wrong in Tivioli Gardens Mark Wignall

Government contracts to bosses of the criminal underworld Mark Beckford

A Government’s credibility in tatters; an Opposition whose hands are not clean Selected media comments

Statement From Presidents Council on the Current Governance Crisis in Jamaica

Citizens’s Action For Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) Press Release on the Governance Crisis in Jamaica

Jamaicans for Justice Joins Call of CAFFE and Presidents Council

Jamaicans United For Sustainable Development support Presidents Council, CAFFE and JforJ

Corruption, Criminality, Chaos: decades in the making Betty Ann Blaine

International Links of Jamaican Criminal Organisations Don Robotham

Historical Origins of the Link between Politicians and Criminals in Jamaica Martin Henry

Bruce and ‘Dudus’: The Constituency Power-Share Sunday Gleaner

Time For Political Renewal Mark Beckford

Testing Electoral Democracy Robert Buddan

Crisis of Leadership Tyrone Reid

Jamaica: A Nation in Crisis Diaspora SpeaksBlog

Crisis of Morality Martin Henry

‘We Need To Look In The Mirror’, says PNP Leader

Who Is There to Vote For? The Dilemma Facing Jamaica’s Youth

Can Bruce be rebuilt? Tyrone Reid

“I Apologise”–Prime Minister Golding’s Speech of May 17, 2010

Related Items:

Indictment against Christopher Coke in the Southern District Court of New York

Jamaica: Danger of State Capture; Transparency International

Drugs and Democracy in Latin America: Report of a Commission

‘Putting my career and my life on the line’ Edward Seaga Interview (1994)

Seaga and Tivoli Jamaica Observer

We have lived too long with anonymous terror John Maxwell,   (1997)

Imperialism and Drugs Fidel,   Castro