WASHINGTON threw its support behind the Jamaican Government in the hunt for Christopher “Dudus” Coke last night while its Prime Minister was forced to confront claims that he has been named in official US documents as an associate of the alleged drug baron.
While the search for Mr Coke continued in Kingston on streets mainly emptied of people by the violence, Bruce Golding’s office accused Western media of mounting a conspiracy to undermine his democratically elected Government.
In a statement Mr Golding “categorically denied and dismissed as extremely offensive” an ABC News report that he had been identified in an American government report as a “known criminal affiliate” of Mr Coke. The statement also condemned an article in The Independent of London that attempted to link Mr Golding to the Shower Posse, the gang based in Tivoli Gardens district of Kingston that experts say serves as the enforcement arm of Mr Coke’s alleged drug business.
Mr Golding said in the statement that both news organisations, “by seeking to link him personally with the alleged drug kingpin, were clearly part of a conspiracy to undermine the duly elected Government of Jamaica”.
ABC stood by its report last night. Experts in the US and Jamaica, who claim to have seen the document mentioned in the network’s report, said it was an affidavit submitted as part of a grand jury investigation in New York, where Mr Coke will be tried if he can be found and extradited. The affidavit is based on a telephone call between Mr Golding and Mr Coke, said one source who asked to remain anonymous. Until two weeks ago Mr Golding was refusing to co-operate with US efforts to extradite Mr Coke, claiming that the request was based partly on illegally obtained wiretap evidence from intercepted telephone calls.
According to US officials cited in the ABC report, Mr Golding has recently been monitored talking to Mr Coke by telephone at his Tivoli Gardens base.