Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Google Glass sale a test of consumer interest

Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Putin says Ukraine 'on brink of war' as separatists hoist Russian flags

    Read more

  • Brazilian club Atletico loses patience with Anelka before he even arrives

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Bluefin-21 'mini-sub' redeploys for Malaysian jet

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

  • France looks to lift ailing economy with business-friendly diplomacy

    Read more

Americas

'Dudus' Coke, Kingston's notorious 'Robin Hood'

©

Video by Aurore Cloe DUPUIS

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-05-27

For many Jamaicans, Christopher "Dudus" Coke, listed as one of the world’s "most dangerous narcotics kingpins" by the US, is a modern-day Robin Hood, who provides poor neighbourhoods with sorely lacking jobs, schools and security.

Jamaica’s Christopher “Dudus” Coke - a man flagged by the US Department of Justice as one of the world’s most dangerous “narcotics kingpins” is revered by many of his countrymen as a hero of the poor; a sort of “Robin Hood” of the drug trade. Murderous criminal or people’s benefactor, just who is Dudus Coke?

Shower Posse
 
Described by the Jamaican media as a quiet, discreet man who rarely speaks to journalists, the suspected 42-year-old drug baron is the son of Lester Coke, former leader of a criminal gang dubbed the “Shower Posse”. The group was bestowed with its title for the generous quantities of bullets it sprayed on its victims.
 
According to US secret services, the gang ran one of the most powerful cocaine and crack trafficking networks towards the US, Canada and the UK, and is responsible for over 1,000 deaths, both in Jamaica and in the US.
 
Lester Coke died in 1992 in a mysterious jailhouse fire while awaiting extradition to the United States, where he was wanted for organising criminal network in major cities. Now American authorities want to bring his son, suspected of taking over the Shower Posse’s criminal empire, to justice.
 
According to a New York Times article published in 1988, the Shower Posse singlehandedly controlled up to 40 percent of the US drug market.
 
Besides his alleged criminal activities, Dudus is also a successful businessman. He directed the construction company Incomparable Enterprise Ltd, which received millions in state contracts until 2002.
 
His other company, Presidential Click, stages the biggest weekly street party in Jamaica, Passa Passa, as well as the dancehall competition Champions in Action.
 
“After God, Dudus”
 
Dudus also developed ties with Jamaica’s political establishment, which explains why, until recently, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding refused to comply with US extradition requests.

Golding is a Labour MP from Dudus’ home turf of West Kingston.

Wide public sympathy for Dudus, as demonstrated by numerous signs or graffiti scrawled across poor neighbourhoods (“After God, Dudus” or “Jesus died for us so we will die for Dudus”), has also shielded him from government rebuke.

Many Jamaican “dons”, or drug lords, buy public sympathy by doling out money to the poor, but Coke took criminal generosity to a new level by creating jobs, building schools and providing health and security in the country’s poorest areas.

These philanthropic gestures have earned him a loyal following among some slum-dwellers, who even refer to Dudus as “the President”.

“Essentially he has overseen the transformation of a community riddled with criminality and violence into a place where people can make money," Jamaican Senator Tom Tavares Finson, who until recently served as Coke’s attorney, told the Jamaica Observer daily.

The government’s decision to comply with a US extradition request for Dudus plunged the Jamaican capital of Kingston into chaos in May. Dozens of civilians were killed in violent clashes between Dudus’ supporters and security forces sent in to apprehend the strongman.

Hundreds of residents of West Kingston took to the streets last week to voice their support for Dudus and, while some joined the crowd out of fear that they would be targeted if they did not participate, many express outright devotion for their “President”.

To them, the US' bid to bring Christopher Coke to justice amounts to a coup d’état.

 

Date created : 2010-05-26

Comments

COMMENT(S)