Letter From Jamaica
The government's refusal to extradite an alleged drug lord to the United States raises concerns about corruption.
For the younger Coke, America now charges that he has ties to the Prime Minister's Jamaica Labour Party. The U.S. State Department's annual narcotics report said this month that the reluctance to extradite Coke "highlights the potential depth of corruption in the government." Only this week Jamaica's outgoing contractor general, who is responsible for transparency in the awarding of contracts, was reported to have talked about "... the scourge of corruption which is now strangling Jamaica to death."
Dudus is facing charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms brought by the U.S. Southern District of New York. The Justice Department has him on its "world's most dangerous" list. If convicted under the Extradition Treat, he will face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
This debacle comes at a bad time for Jamaica. Slow to acknowledge the local impact of the global recession, the Jamaica Labour Party government seemed to have stumbled from one ill-conceived plan to the next. First there was a sort of John McCain denial, with the finance minister saying Jamaica had nothing to worry about. When Prime Minister Bruce Golding got a reality check, his response was a poorly constructed stimulus plan that the business community here saw as a flop.
When matters got worse, he announced punishing new taxes that drew so much ire he quickly backed down and rescinded many of them. Soon after, the government took more heat for getting temporary loans from the country's central bank and state agencies.