RENETO Adams, the controversial retired senior superintendent of police, is warning of the possibility of heightened criminal activity and a security nightmare if extradition proceedings are brought against reputed Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
During an interview with the Observer on Monday, Adams suggested that such a hearing would best be moved to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) headquarters on Camp Road in Kingston for safety reasons and that security would have to be drastically increased at certain institutions across the island.
Adams’ suggestion came against the background of what he said is Coke’s influence in certain quarters of the society, coupled with previous threats of civil unrest.
Coke — who is revered by persons in his stronghold, located in Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s West Kingston constituency — is wanted in the United States on drug- and gun-running charges.
The extradition request was made last year August but Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne has refused to give the authority to proceed against Coke, arguing that the US has presented illegally obtained evidence against him.
“If he is arrested, the Government would have to deploy added security in key strategic places. You would also have to house him at Up Park Camp and certain routes on which he would be driving would have to be closed down. We are looking at an extensive operation because this man has great influence,” said Adams.
“It will be a maximum security plan with all kinds of persons involved: people from the intelligence arena, people from the strike force, obviously some snipers will be in place,” he added.
But Adams has questioned, based on the posture of the Government, whether such a scenario will ever play out.
In March, two high-ranking members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force told the Observer that there were growing fears within the security forces that if Coke has to be extradited elements in the criminal underworld could put aside political differences to wage a united battle against law and order.
The security concern was manifested last week Wednesday when heavily armed members of the Island Special Constabulary Force were posted at the Supreme Court where there was an expectation that Coke would have shown up for a hearing in which Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller and Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica President Joseph Matalon were applying to have their names removed as defendants from a motion brought by Lightbourne.
Lightbourne had asked the court to determine whether she has the power under the Extradition Act to take into consideration material illegally obtained in arriving at a conclusion whether to initiate extradition proceedings against any person.
Simpson Miller and Matalon have made public pronouncements on the minister’s refusal to proceed against Coke, said to be a staunch supporter of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party.
Coke — who is named as first defendant in Lightbourne’s motion — did not show for the hearing. It was revealed that he could not be found to be served court papers.