Caribbean Political Economy

A Massacre in Jamaica, Mattathias Schwartz

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Following is the link to an article published in the New Yorker Magazine (December 12 2011) on the operation by Jamaican security forces in May 2010 to execute an extradition order against now convicted drug lord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, which resulted in over 70 civilian deaths. it comes at a time when the Jamaican government has confirmed that a U.S. military plane provided intelligence to the forces on the ground during the operation. Jamaican civil society organisations have long campaigned for an independent enquiry into the deaths.

Most cemeteries replace the illusion of life’s permanence with another illusion: the permanence of a name carved in stone. Not so May Pen Cemetery, in Kingston, Jamaica, where bodies are buried on top of bodies, weeds grow over the old markers, and time humbles even a rich man’s grave…

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Drugs, Crime, Security and Sovereignty, Ivelaw Griffith

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Thirteenth Annual Eric Williams Memorial Lecture of the School of Public and International Affairs, Florida International University delivered on October 28, 2011. Dr Griffith is Professor of Political Science, Provost and Senior Vice President at York College,The City University of New York.

CONTENTS I. Introduction*/ II. The Drama of Drugs/ III. The Crucible of Crime/ IV. Challenges to Security and Sovereignty/Jamaica’s Dudus Affair/ Trinidad and Tobago’s State of Emergency/ V. The Subtitle, the Questions/ VI. Conclusion. Also statistics on Drugs and Crime in the Caribbean.

Click here for Griffith’s Eric Williams Lecture

Resignation of Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister

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The announcement made today by Prime Minister and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). Bruce Golding that he will shortly step down as Prime Minister and leader of the JLP, is welcomed by New Nation Coalition as the “right and proper thing to do”, and “a step in the right direction for Jamaica.”..


For background go to Jamaican Politics

Trinidad and Tobago: Gangs and the Golden Age, Rubadiri Victor

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We need to get this straight- or we perish. The truth about boys and gangs… This country is being held to ransom by about 6000 boys organized into criminal gangs. These boys are led by about 60 very charismatic boys. These gangs are secret societies- with initiation rituals, codes of conduct, and ways of dress. They have heroes they worship and attempt to imitate, and strict systems of reward and punishment. These gangs are modes of achieving wealth, status and women. Most of all, they are ways of achieving ‘belonging’ and ‘meaning’. ..


Jamaica’s ‘Dudus’ Coke: U.S. Government’s Statement Leading to the Guilty Plea

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Jamaica’s druglord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, former strongman in the Prime Minister’s political constituency, has pleaded gulity to charges of two counts of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering respectively, laid against him in the United States, and is awaiting sentencing. Here is the “In Limine” statement from U.S. prosecutors which reportedly led to the gulity plea.

US Govt Motion on Evidence Against Coke


Copy of Dudus’ letter to the sentencing Judge.

Coke’s lawyer reveals details of guilty plea

Gangsters, Politicians, Cocaine and Bankers: Lessons from the Dudus Saga Horace Campbell

Re-emergence of Suriname’s Bouterse: Political Acumen and Geopolitical Anxiety, Ivelaw Griffith

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Monograph of the Western Hemisphere Security Analysis Center, Florida International University, June 2011. Professor Griffith is a political scientist from the Caribbean and is Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of York College, The City University of New York.

The re-emergence of Desie Bouterse as President of Suriname in 2010 reflects his political acumen in aggregating disparate political interests and in establishing a viable coalition government…. (but it) has generated anxiety in some places internationally. This study examines anxieties related to,   (a) relations with Guyana, where there is an existing territorial dispute and a recently resolved maritime dispute, (b) illegal drug trafficking operations, and (c) foreign policy engagement with Venezuela….


Assessment Of The Manatt/Coke Commission Of Enquiry Report, Jamaicans United For Sustainable Development

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After weeks of high profile media attention and commentary in the wider society the report of the Manatt Commission of Enquiry and the extradition request from the United States for Mr. Christopher Coke has been tabled in the Jamaican parliament. It has been greeted with much disapproval and scepticism and has reinforced the view held all along by the majority of the population that nothing was going to come out of it…

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Why are Marines Disembarking in Costa Rica? Atilio Boron

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With votes secured from the official National Liberation Party (PLN), the Libertarian Movement, and Justo Orozco, the evangelical congressman from the Costa Rican Renovation party, on July 1st, the Costa Rican Congress authorized the entry into that country of 46 warships from the U.S. Navy, 200 helicopters and combat aircraft and 7,000 Marines. ..

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A Tale of Two Extraditions, Saul Landau

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The U.S. government demanded that Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding extradite a drug dealer. When Venezuela made similar demands on Washington, for arguably the Hemisphere’s most notorious terrorist, the Justice Department brushed off the request…

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Gender, Violence and Militarism: Challenges for Civil Society, Rhoda Reddock

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Professor Reddock’s presentation to the 2010 Conference of the Caribbean Studies Association outlines the current neoliberal context of Caribbean political economy; the many-sided problematic of 21st century violence in the Caribbean; the pitfalls of the militarist response; the interrelationship between gender, violence and militarism; and concludes with challenges for Civil Society. It has far-reaching significance to the curent preoccupation with criminal violence, drug and arms trafficking in the region and the range of possible responses by society and state.

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The West Kingston Crisis and Party Politics in Jamaica, Rupert Lewis

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Keynote address at States of Freedom: Freedom of States Symposium, held at UWI, Mona, June 16-18, 2010. Rupert Lewis is Professor in Poltical Thought in the Department of Government, UWI

There has been an unprecedented national discussion in and out of parliament, in the Jamaica diaspora, in the Caribbean and international media over the past 10 months since the U.S. issued the extradition request for Christopher Dudus Coke. I have been forced, with the rest of society, to think about the ongoing crises on the socio-racial, economic, cultural and political levels..

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Gangsters, Politicians, Cocaine and Bankers: Lessons from the Dudus Saga, Horace Campbell

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From Pambazuka News

The arrest of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke in a road block in Jamaica on Tuesday 22 June 2010 opens the possibility once and for all to reveal the full extent of the corruption of the politics of Jamaica and the Caribbean by the rulers in collaboration with the intelligence, commercial and banking infrastructures of the United States..

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The West Kingston Crisis and Jamaican Party Politics Rupert Lewis

Who first gave Tivoli its guns? Mark Wignall

Reflections on Armed Violence and Development in the Caribbean, Norman Girvan

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The extraordinary events surrounding the proposed extradition of Jamaica’s Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke have served to highlight the pernicious consequences of transnational organised crime in the Caribbean region. These consequences extend to the spheres of politics, governance, sovereignty, social organization and the economy. They call into question the entire model of development followed by the region in recent times as well as the model of governance which was at the heart of the post-colonial dispensation in the English-speaking Caribbean…

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The World Drug Report 2010, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) addresses recent trends in illicit drug production, trafficking and consumption. It gives an analysis of three key transnational drug markets (heroine, cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants), followed by a presentation of statistical trends for all major drug categories and a discussion of the relationship between drug trafficking and instability.

‘America’s Dudus’: Luis Posada and the U.S.’s Double Standards, Rickey Singh

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WHILE Jamaica’s security forces intensify their hunt for most wanted reputed dealer in illicit drugs and guns, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, for extradition to the USA, Venezuela has chosen to increase its pressure for Washington to extradite to Caracas a most wanted terrorist….

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Jamaica’s Sovereignty Saga, Ivelaw Griffith


From the New York Carib News. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, a political scientist from the Caribbean, is Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of York College, The City University of New York.

Discussions about sovereignty often focus on its international dimension; freedom from outside interference; that no authority is legally above a state except that which a state’s leaders voluntarily confer on international bodies. This is the formal-legal aspect of sovereignty, and it’s a cardinal feature of international relations. But there’s another key aspect of sovereignty, one related to a nation’s internal dynamics…

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From Kabul to Kingston, Richard Drayton


Richard Drayton, who is of Caribbean origin, is Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King’s College, University of London. This article appeared in The Guardian on June 14, 2010

The many allegations of human rights abuses committed by the Jamaican security forces – including extrajudicial killings and the disposal of bodies – have received almost no international attention. Nor have the linkages between the Jamaican crisis, the security establishments in the US, Britain and Canada, and the mutations of the “war on terror”…

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You can also view comments on the Guardian website by clicking here

Jamaicans for Justice in Tivoli Gardens

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Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is concerned about the high number of casualties and detentions resulting from the ongoing operations of the security forces in Tivoli Gardens and the wider Corporate Area. Since the recent unrest, JFJ has been contacted by several families. In addition to working on these individual cases, we are raising our voices in harmony with international human rights advocates to call for an investigation into the deaths in West Kingston.

To ensure that the residents of West Kingston and the trauma they have experienced are not soon forgotten, we have produced a video focusing on the survivors. Click the following YouTube link to watch, or and please distribute widely to interested networks. The video also signifies the launch of JFJ’s media campaign, so expect more throughout the summer, and feel free to give your feedback and suggestions.

As always, thank you for your support,
Jamaicans for Justice
2 Fagan Avenue, Kingston 8
Phone: (876) 755-4524-6
Fax #: (876) 755-4355

Jamaica’s Bloody Democracy, Orlando Patterson

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From The New York Times

THE violence tearing apart Jamaica, a democratic state, raises serious questions not only about its government’s capacity to provide basic security but, more broadly and disturbingly, the link between violence and democracy itself…

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Jamaica’s Governance Crisis–5, Norman Girvan


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

How The CIA Created The Jamaican Shower Posse, Casey Gane-McCalla

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This article was accessed from,   NewsOne For Black America and has been published widely on the Internet. It refers to several sources published over the last 30 years that discuss the role of the CIA in the creation and/or encouragement of the infamous ‘Shower,   Posse’ as part of the policy to destablise the Michael Manley-led government of Jamaica in the 1970s.

With the recent violence in Jamaica and the controversy over alleged drug lord, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, many people are talking about the infamous Jamaican Shower Posse and the neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens, where they have their base. What is being is being ignored largely by the media, is the role that the American government and the CIA had in training, arming and giving power to the Shower Posse…

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