Jamaica to pursue talks on U.S. extradition treaty

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Prime Minister Bruce Golding has announced that he’ll be seeking a meeting with the United States government to discuss the provisions of the extradition treaty between the two countries, as soon as the Commission of Enquiry into the extradition of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke is completed.

He said dialogue between the two countries was essential to ensure that the rights of Jamaicans and the provisions of the Constitution are observed.

The Prime Minister made the statement while being cross examined by opposition People’s National Party (PNP) lead attorney, K.D. Knight, as the inquiry was winding down.

Golding said he believed the rights of Jamaicans must be protected, and that all countries, including the U.S., must understand that his government will be strident in the defense of the laws and Constitution of Jamaica.

“Similar to the extradition treaty that they have with Ireland, which says that all of what is done under this treaty is subject to the laws of Ireland, we have to make sure that the same protection is provided for the citizens of Jamaica,” he said.

Golding also testified that he believed there were striking similarities between Coke’s extradition request, and the 1989 case of Richard “Storyteller” Morrison.

Morrison, a close associate of Coke’s father, Lester Lloyd Coke, was extradited to South Florida, where he was accused of being a leader of the Shower Posse, while he was seeking leave to appeal the extradition orders at the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. He was eventually tried on charges separate from those for which his extradition was requested. Knight was the Minister of National Security and Justice at the time.

“There are so many similarities between that case and this case. For example, the request for the extradition of Richard “Storyteller” Morrison was received by diplomatic note on the 31st of October 1989. The authority to proceed was not signed until 12th of July 1990, nine months after the request was received,” Prime Minister Golding said.

The extradition request for Coke was received by diplomatic note in August 2009 but the authority to proceed was not signed until May the following year.

The Prime Minister testified that he was facing much difficulty in understanding the extent to which different considerations and different standards are now being applied, in the case of Coke.

The Commission of Inquiry will resume on Friday at which time Chairman Emil George will decide on a time for lawyers to present their final arguments. The Commissioners will submit their final report on or before May 16.

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