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Coke stand


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A TENSE STAND-OFF in a section of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, seems set to continue, following the postponement yesterday of a court hearing involving reputed dope dealer and gunrunner Christopher  “Dudus” Coke.The hearing for an application for a judicial review filed by attorneys representing Coke was postponed to May 31 because Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn – who is a defendant in the matter – was served a summons just minutes before the hearing was set to begin.On Wednesday lawyers for Coke filed a motion  for the review of the justice minister’s decision to authorise proceedings for the extradition of Coke, wanted in the United States on firearm  and dope charges.Meanwhile, Jamaican security forces still have the authority to arrest Coke on sight as a warrant for his arrest is still in force.Since Tuesday, residents of Tivoli Gardens where Coke is based have been mounting barricades at all entrances, in anticipation of moves  to arrest him.According to Jamaican police, gas cylinders have been inserted into some barricades and others have been reinforced  by barbed wires attached  to high voltage electricity lines and attached  to metal objects within  the barricades.The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JFC) reported that some Tivoli residents were stockpiling high-powered weapons, including sniper rifles.The JCF also reported that residents of the community were being held hostage by gunmen and had had their  cellphones confiscated.On Wednesday,  a Jamaica Defence Force team which went into  the community to clear roadblocks was attacked when their tanker was fired upon by gunmen. On Thursday, hundreds of Dudus’ supporters, many dressed in white, protested in a march which went through downtown Kingston.They marched  in front of Jamaica’s parliament, Gordon House. Chanting ‘No Dudus, No Jamaica’, many of the protestors said they were ready  to die for the alleged strongman.After months of objections to extradition, during which United States-Jamaica relations soured, Prime Minister Bruce Golding relented, announcing on Monday night that the Justice Minister would sign the extradition request.Coke is a resident  of Golding’s West Kingston constituency, which  is a stronghold for the governing Jamaica  Labour Party. (Jamaica Observer/AL-F)