The BBC reports the following:
“The Jamaican drug lord, Christopher "Dudus" Coke, has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges at a US federal district court in New York.
Coke, 42, also admitted conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on 8 December, when he could face up to 23 years in prison.
A five-week operation to capture him in Jamaica's capital, Kingston, last year led to clashes in which scores died.
The US government said Coke was one of the world's most dangerous criminals, but his supporters said he was a community leader.
In June 2010, Coke was extradited to the US. He said he had decided to face justice there in the interests of his family and country.
On Wednesday, he admitted that he had run a notorious Kingston-based criminal organisation, known as the Shower Posse and the Presidential Click, which had trafficked marijuana, cocaine and firearms.
"I also ordered the purchase of firearms and the importation of those firearms into Jamaica in furtherance of this conspiracy," he said.
Afterwards, US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement: "For nearly two decades, Christopher Coke led a ruthless criminal enterprise that used fear, force and intimidation to support its drug and arms trafficking 'businesses'. He moved drugs and guns between Jamaica and the United States with impunity."
"Today's plea is a welcome conclusion to this ugly chapter of criminal history," he added.
The pursuit of Coke by the US authorities shed light on the links between politicians and gang leaders in Jamaica.
Until last year, Coke enjoyed substantial protection from the ruling Jamaican Labour Party and Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
The conviction of Dudus Coke has ramped home a strong message to us, especially in the light of the damning Wikileaks reports implicating Ministers of our government in alliances with narco-traffickers.
Will our situation reach the high point that it got to in Jamaica? Will anybody be arrested? Who will do the arrest(s)?
Admittedly, our situation is more complicated. Whereas "Dudus" was a “don” operating outside government, in our case, the named offender is a Cabinet minister operating inside government.
The fact the writer of the original cable was Brent Hardt, the former head of the US Embassy in Bridgetown, is particularly disturbing. Apparently, it is intelligence which the US government has on its files; and the US State Department must be concerned about the preponderance of criminals that "reigns supreme" inside the Government of such a micro-state as St. Lucia.
Moreover, the US government, its allies and our friends might be equally concerned about our profile as a country - and also as a people - and our tolerance for criminality at the highest levels of our society. Could that be the reason for our dramatic drop in the "ease-of-doing-business" index? Was that also the reason for ranking us as the country with the second to last in IQ in the world?
A lot more information is doing the rounds on the blogs in cyberspace. For example, here is what a boarder wrote on LucianTalk (Ref: http://www.luciantalk.co.nr/) about the alleged Minister who is "operationally" referred to as “Don Corleone”
1. If we want to better understand the activities of the Minister in question, then we have to go back, way back, back to a speech that late sir John made in parliament when he said, the police was hiding their criminality behind police uniforms and that were in league with customs officers.
2. That the Minister in question at the time was in the Drug/SSU squad.
3. that during that time, drums of seized marijuana disappeared from the customs shed.
4. That Sir John use to say that he could do nothing ... because the Officer in question had big inspector uncles in the force. He was spreading money among his police partners.
5. Some bags of cocaine that were washed up on the shores near Dennery, disappeared from the Dennery Police Station.
6. Following those incidents the officer in question resign from the police ... and went to study law paying his way in full - out of he own pocket!
Is that what we deserve for government?
Finally, I must point to an emerging trend in our communities - and one we must be on our guard against. Just as in the case with Jamaica, some of our most dangerous criminals are masquerading as community leaders trying to woo our impressionable young persons to join party youth groups. We must keep an eye on our children and provide them with quality guidance.
Whilst we should encourage our young ones to join the girl guides, boys scouts, cadet corps, and community youth and sporting groups, we should be very wary about their recruitment into political organizations – and encouraging them to take part in political projects - where those dangerous and criminal elements can influence them. Those ad hoc political organizations may encourage unnecessary divisiveness and tribalism in our communities. Let us try and build our communities outside the dirty politics.
Indeed, it looks to be a sorry moment to St. Lucia – a country which has produced two Nobel laureates and many other great men and women who have made us proud.
We look forward to the day when the wealth-brandishing, venom-breathing criminals that find safe haven in government will be - arrested, charged and put behind bars by the US authorities (just like “Dudus”) or be displaced by NATO (just like Kaddafi).
As children of God, we pray for some intervention in St. Lucia – whether it is done pre-emptively by the electorate or post hoc by the international community to rescue us. St. Lucia needs a hand to save her!
I applaud Dr Anthony’s pronouncement to pass laws to rid government of criminal elements. It will be a move in the right direction. Let's proceed!
Richard is wanted man in the US for customs FRaud and Marco-traffiking. It did not come out in the wikileaks cables because it is classified information.ReplyDelete
Just wait and you will see.
Why am I not surprised ? The only thing that does surprise me is that we have all known a lot of this criminality and strongly suspected a lot more regarding our Government ministers so why has nothing been done up to now ?ReplyDelete