Posts Tagged ‘Jamaica’

Österreich: Let’s ban the bombs!

Donnerstag, Dezember 11th, 2014

“Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons

Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons
Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015

December 9, 2014

After 44 states called for a prohibition on nuclear weapons at a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, Austria delivered the “Austrian pledge” in which it committed to work to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and pledged “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

“All states committed to nuclear disarmament must join the Austrian pledge to work towards a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”, said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

“Next year is the 70 year anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that will be a fitting time for negotiations to start on a treaty banning nuclear weapons”, Fihn added.

States that expressed support for a ban treaty at the Vienna Conference include: Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Holy See, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

These announcements were given at a two-day international conference convened in Vienna to examine the consequences of nuclear weapon use, whether intentional or accidental.

Survivors of the nuclear bombings in Japan and of nuclear testing in Australia, Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands, and the United States, gave powerful testimonies of the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. Their evidence complemented other presentations presenting data and research.

“The consequences of any nuclear weapon use would be devastating, long-lasting, and unacceptable. Governments simply cannot listen to this evidence and hear these human stories without acting”, said Akira Kawasaki, from Japanese NGO Peaceboat. “The only solution is to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons and we need to start now,” Kawasaki added.

For decades, discussions on nuclear weapons have been dominated by the few nuclear-armed states – states that continue to stockpile and maintain over 16,000 warheads. The humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons has prompted a fundamental change in this conversation, with non-nuclear armed states leading the way in a discussion on the actual effects of the weapons.

Unlike the other weapons of mass destruction – chemical and biological – nuclear weapons are not yet prohibited by an international legal treaty. Discussions in Vienna illustrated that the international community is determined to address this. In a statement to the conference, Pope Francis called for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”.

The host of the previous conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, Mexico, called for the commencement of a diplomatic process, and South Africa said it was considering its role in future meetings.

“Anyone in Vienna can tell that something new is happening on nuclear weapons. We have had three conferences examining their humanitarian impact, and now with the Austrian pledge we have everything we need for a diplomatic process to start”, said Thomas Nash of UK NGO Article 36.”

 

(Quelle: ICAN.)

Jamaica: Heftig, heftig

Montag, August 6th, 2012

„Sista P.“ schafft das Comeback

Jamaicas Sozialdemokrat_innen erobern mit Portia Simpson die Macht zurück

Von Martin Ling

Jamaicas jüngster Premier aller Zeiten hat sich gründlich verkalkuliert: Von trügerischen Umfrageergebnissen beflügelt, rief der 39-jährige Andrew Holness für den 29. Dezember 2011 vorgezogene Neuwahlen aus und erlitt eine bittere Schlappe. Seine konservative Jamaica Labour Party erhielt lediglich 22 der 63 Sitze im Parlament. Stattdessen eroberte die sozialdemokratische People‘s National Party (PNP) unter Portia Simpson Miller nach vier Jahren die Macht zurück. Im Wahlkampf versprach Portia Simpson der Bevölkerung Jobs. Nun muss sie liefern, denn die Hälfte der Erwerbsfähigen hat keine feste Arbeit.

Das Gefühl hat sie nicht getäuscht: „Ich kann den Wind des Wechsels spüren“, hatte Portia Simpson Miller im Wahlkampfendspurt verkündet. Tatsächlich gelang der 66-Jährigen, die bereits von 2006 bis 2007 als Regierungschefin amtiert hatte, bei den Parlamentswahlen am 29. Dezember mit ihrer sozialdemokratischen People‘s National Party (PNP) die triumphale Rückkehr an die Macht. Die PNP errang 41 der 63 Direktmandate, die in Jamaica nach dem Westminster-Modell der einstigen britischen Kolonialmacht vergeben werden: Der Sieger im Wahlkreis erhält den Sitz, der Rest geht leer aus. Die nach 18-jähriger Pause erst 2007 wieder an die Regierung gekommene konservative Jamaica Labour Party unter dem amtierenden 39-jährigen Premierminister Andrew Holness konnte lediglich 22 Sitze erobern. Erstmals seit Einführung allgemeiner Wahlen 1944 wurde damit in Jamaica eine Partei nach nur einer Regierungsperiode wieder abgewählt.

Die wirtschaftliche Lage bestimmte den Wahlkampf. Sie ist auch das Problem, das den Jamaicaner_innen am meisten unter den Nägeln brennt. Es verdrängte selbst das langjährige Topthema Gewalt. Offiziell sind 12,3 Prozent der Bevölkerung arbeitslos gemeldet. Inoffiziell wird jedoch davon ausgegangen, dass fast die Hälfte der Erwerbsfähigen keine feste Arbeit hat und sich durch Gelegenheitsjobs und die finanzielle Unterstützung von Familienangehörigen im Ausland über Wasser halten muss. Simpson hatte im Wahlkampf unter anderem ein staatliches Beschäftigungsprogramm namens „Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme“ (JEEP) angekündigt, um die Arbeitslosigkeit anzugehen. Nach der Wahl appellierte sie zusätzlich an alle Unternehmer_innen, doch wenigstens je einen qualifizierten arbeitslosen Jamaicaner oder Jamaicanerin einzustellen. So könnten kurzfristig 40.000 Arbeitsplätze geschaffen werden. „Lasst es uns ‚Jamaica Employ‘ (‚Jamaica stellt ein‘) nennen und lasst uns in der Partnerschaft für unsere nationale Entwicklung fortschreiten“, so die Wahlsiegerin mit reichlich Pathos. Gegenüber entsprechenden Unternehmen würde sich die Regierung bei der Vergabe von Staatsaufträgen erkenntlich zeigen.

Die Arbeitslosigkeit wird in Jamaica aber nur dann nennenswert sinken können, wenn die Privatwirtschaft ausreichend lukrative Beschäftigungsmöglichkeiten sieht. Denn auch wenn das staatliche JEEP bereits anläuft und in sieben Landkreisen bald 700 öffentliche Stellen geschaffen werden sollen, ist klar, dass die Möglichkeiten des Öffentlichen Sektors angesichts der prekären Lage des Staatshaushalts eingeschränkt sind.

Die Einnahmen reichen hinten und vorne nicht. Jamaica musste im Gefolge der globalen Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise unter dem damaligen Premierminister Bruce Golding Anfang 2010 erstmals einen technischen Bankrott erklären, weil es zu fristgemäßer Bedienung seiner immensen Schulden nicht mehr in der Lage war. Auch nach der Umschuldung und einem mit dem Internationalen Währungsfonds abgeschlossenen Stand-by-Abkommens ächzt Jamaica unter einer extremen Verschuldung: Rund 60 Prozent des Staatshaushalts gehen Jahr für Jahr für den Schuldendienst (Zins- und Tilgungszahlungen) drauf – das ist ein trauriger Weltrekord und geht vor allem zu Lasten von Bildung und Sozialem.

Daran konnte auch die 2011 relativ erfreuliche konjunkturelle Entwicklung nach dreijähriger Rezession wenig ändern. Die Einnahmen aus dem Tourismus beliefen sich auf 2 Milliarden Dollar. Zusammen mit den Rücküberweisungen von im Ausland lebenden Jamaicaner_innen ist der Tourismus mit Abstand der wichtigste Devisenbringer – weit vor dem Bauxitexport, der in den 1970er Jahren die größte Einnahmequelle war.

Wenn schon die harten Fakten wenig Anlass zu Optimismus geben, will Simpson zumindest etwas für das jamaicanische Selbstbewusstsein tun. So verkündete sie bei ihrer Antrittsrede am 6. Januar, die endgültige Loslösung von der einstigen Kolonialmacht einzuleiten. Denn auch fast 50 Jahre nach der Unabhängigkeit vom 6. August 1962 ist die britische Königin formales Staatsoberhaupt der Karibikinsel. Nun soll Jamaica eine echte Republik werden. „Ich liebe die Königin, sie ist eine hübsche Frau, eine kluge Frau und eine wunderbare Frau. Aber ich denke, die Zeit ist gekommen.“ Diplomatischer lässt sich der Abnabelungswunsch kaum formulieren. Für dieses Vorhaben darf sich Simpson des Beifalls der Bevölkerung sicher sein, obwohl das Verhältnis zum „Mutterland“ ambivalent ist: Einerseits sitzt der Stachel der einstigen Sklaverei tief, und nichts versetzt die Jamaicaner_innen in größere Ekstase als ein Triumph im Cricket gegen die einstige Kolonialmacht. Andererseits bestehen viele familiäre Beziehungen nach Großbritannien. Dass es für Besuche bei den Verwandten dort jedes Mal eines Visums bedarf, kränkt die Jamaicaner_innen mindestens ebenso wie die pauschalen Verdächtigungen an britischen Flughäfen, Drogen zu schmuggeln.

Der Krieg der Drogenbanden untereinander wird wiederum als Hauptgrund für die ausartende Gewalt ausgemacht. Laut Regierungsangaben ist die Mordrate – mit 1700 Morden im Jahr 2010 eine der relativ höchsten der Welt – 2011 beträchtlich gesunken. Gleichzeitig beklagen Menschenrechtsorganisationen eine Zunahme der extralegalen Tötungen durch Sicherheitskräfte, seit diese in den Ghettos „aufräumen“. Die massivste dieser Aktionen war der Grund für die vorgezogenen Wahlen: Bei der größten Militär- und Polizeioperation der Landesgeschichte im Mai 2010 waren über 76 Menschen im Ghetto Tivoli Gardens ums Leben gekommen, als erfolglos nach dem dort informell regierenden Drogenboss Christopher „Dudus“ Coke gefahndet wurde. Der wurde einen Monat später verhaftet und an die USA ausgeliefert. Im vergangenen Oktober gab Premierminister Golding, der seinen Wahlkreis ausgerechnet in Tivoli Gardens hatte, dann seine unglückliche Handhabung des Falles „Dudus“ als zentralen Rücktrittsgrund an und übergab die Geschäfte an Holness. Dessen Kalkül, sich mit vorgezogenen Neuwahlen ein Mandat von der Bevölkerung zu holen, ging allerdings entgegen vieler Umfragen nicht auf. Stattdessen machte sich Portia Simpson Miller, die am 12. Dezember 66 Jahre alt wurde, mit dem Wahlsieg ein nachträgliches Geburtstagsgeschenk. Die auf 48 Prozent deutlich gesunkene Wahlbeteiligung zeigt allerdings, wie wenig sich die Menschen in Jamaica noch von Wahlen versprechen. Der Politikverdrossenheit konstruktiv zu begegnen, wird eine der schwierigen Aufgaben sein, die auf die im Volksmund mit dem Kosenamen „Sista P.“ bedachte Simpson warten. Die Zeit dafür ist ebenso so reif wie für die endgültige Abnabelung von der britischen Monarchie.

Ausgabe: 452 – Februar 2012″

 

(Quelle: Lateinamerika Nachrichten.)

Anmerkung

Die Februar-2012-Ausgabe der Zeitschrift “Lateinamerika Nachrichten”, aus der dieser Aufsatz stammt, kann in unserer Bücherei entliehen werden.

Siehe auch:

Kleptokratie und Kokain

Karibik: Ein kritischer Blick auf die Menschenrechtssituation

Dienstag, Juni 1st, 2010

“Human Rights NGOs Concerns in the Commonwealth Caribbean

Introduction

All English speaking Caribbean countries were British Colonies and share largely similar histories, similar present day economic, political and social realities and similar legal systems.  Most are now independent though a few (notably the Cayman Islands and Montserrat) remain British administered territories. All share a history of slavery, indentureship, colonialism, multi-ethnic, migrant and mobile populations, and economic struggle. Today almost all share the present day reality of economic underdevelopment (the notable exemptions being Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados). They are mostly parliamentary (Westminster type) democracies, the exception being Guyana that concentrates power in the hands of an Executive President who is not directly elected.

Given the similarities it is not strange that human rights activists and members of the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) community across the region share similar concerns.

Political Systems

The constitutions of the independent countries of the Caribbean are all almost identical and based on the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.  All the constitutions concentrate huge amounts of power in the hands of the Prime Ministers (or a President) who are chosen by those members of their party who are elected to Parliament. The concentration of power allows Prime Ministers effective control over Parliament and most critical appointments including those of the Ministers, members of the Service Commissions, the Chief Justices, the Directors of Public Prosecutions and the Attorneys General. This concentration of power, without a strong tradition of independence of the members of Parliament from the executive, has led to an authoritarian, non-consultative style of governance across the region which is of grave concern to the NGO community.

Attitude to Human Rights

NGO’s across the region are proud of the united stance taken by their governments against human rights abuses around the world including the active role played in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. We are however perplexed by the defensive and insular attitudes adopted to human rights problems within our own jurisdictions. This defensive and insular attitude is manifest in the withdrawal of the government of Trinidad and Tobago from the Inter American Court of Human Rights and the failure of other governments, other than that of Barbados, to join the court. It is also manifest in the withdrawal of the government of Jamaica from the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that has denied its citizens the opportunity to use the United Nations mechanisms for the protection of rights. It would appear that the governments of the Caribbean do not fully accept the international nature of the struggle for rights and see any external oversight and questions as a threat to their sovereignty.

Public education about human rights has been limited to the work of NGO’s with little or no support from the governments across the region.

Crime and Violence

Most Caribbean territories have experienced increased rates of violent crime, including rising murder rates, over the last decade.  This is of concern to their populations and to the NGO community across the region. The geographic position of the Caribbean territories has made them prime locations for the transhipment of cocaine between the USA, the UK and Europe and fuelled the national crime rates as well as the influx of guns and drugs which are used locally. The geography of the region and the relatively ineffectual police forces have also allowed for the growth of human trafficking networks and gang networks linked to international organized crime groups. This in turn has fuelled police corruption and rising crime rates locally.

Problems of Policing

To a greater or lesser extent all the police forces in the Caribbean suffer from the ills of unreformed police structures. The failure of attempts at police reform to reduce abuses by the police is of grave concern across the region. These failures are manifest in a myriad of problems ranging from breaches of the rights of juveniles, failure to deal effectively with domestic abuse and abuse of women, failure to follow due process; use of brutality and torture; corruption; bias and discrimination; violence and discrimination against homosexuals; and alleged extra-judicial executions. At a recent conference of human rights NGO’s in the Caribbean these concerns were expressed thus:

Police forces across the region are characterised by high levels of corruption and severe weaknesses, or complete lack of accountability mechanisms.  The timidity and ineffectualness of reform efforts are failing to break corrupt linkages, entrench accountability or produce professionalism in police forces.’

Problems in the Justice System

There is concern across the region that politicization of those institutions created to uphold the law, namely the judiciary, the public prosecutor’s office and the police has resulted in collusion on issues which in turn have led to the erosion of human rights.  While this concern is of greater or lesser importance in different territories, the recent contretemps between the Prime Minister and Chief Justice in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is illustrative and cautionary.

Common across the region are some worrying threats to the Rule of Law including: corruption; mob-violence and killings; and ordinary citizens taking the law into their own hands even to the extent of carrying out extra-judicial killings. The Justice systems are still fairly inaccessible to those who need it most, the poor and disadvantaged. Jamaica’s Justice systems in particular, but also some of the systems in other territories have lengthy delays in the disposal of cases. These delays, of themselves, constitute a threat to the provision of justice.

Also of concern in the region is the severely limited provision of Legal Aid in most territories. Limitations of Legal Aid are particularly acute in small islands where everyone knows everyone else and persons accused of heinous crimes may have severe difficulties getting legal aid representation. There are also problems of getting legal representation in challenges to government authority in small societies.  Attempts to address this issue are currently underway in the NGO community.

The issue of the application of the death penalty is also of grave concern to many NGO’s. The death penalty remains on the books in all the independent territories and attempts to remove it as a punishment have foundered on a lack of political will to confront entrenched societal attitudes that demand the death penalty as a response to rising crime levels.

Discrimination

While the Caribbean is mostly free of the worst forms of discrimination there are specific problems in some territories. Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago particularly grapple with issues of racial tension between persons of Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean heritage.  Belize struggles with the issue of ensuring no discrimination against refugees and migrants from its Spanish-speaking neighbours Honduras and Guatemala.  Belize and Guyana also have a problem with ensuring and enshrining indigenous people’s rights.  Throughout the Caribbean, but more particularly in Jamaica, there is the problem of insufficient legal procedures to safeguard the rights of asylum seekers who come primarily from Haiti and Cuba.

There are also problems of discrimination against, and exploitation of the labour of, foreign (often undocumented) workers who travel between the territories in search of work. They are often paid below minimum wage, over worked and exploited because they fear to complain lest they be deported.

The right to non-discrimination of persons living with HIV/Aids is proving an ongoing challenge that for the most part has been well dealt with by the governments of the region.  Less well handled has been the issue of discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, with Jamaica in particular having a chilling record of mob attacks on gays and tepid (or non existent) government response.

Women’s and Children’s Rights

The region’s governments have done much work on the issues of women’s and children’s rights, however, much work remains to be done to ensure the protection of these vulnerable groups. Many NGO’s across the region work for the promotion and protection of the rights of Women and Children.

Prison Conditions

Prison conditions across the region remain substandard and unacceptable. Overcrowding has become a particular concern given the rising crime rates across the region. In many of the territories of the region attention needs to be paid to the incarceration of juveniles who far too frequently are housed with adult offenders due to lack of suitable juvenile facilities. Also of concern are the lack of proper medical attention available in prisons and the, often horrendous, treatment of the mentally ill in prisons.

Freedom of the Press

The Caribbean has, for the most part, an admirable record of freedom of the press. However, most territories retain fairly draconian libel laws that have been used by some politicians in, what would appear to be, attempts to muzzle the press and suppress embarrassing revelations. Concerns about the use of the economic power of government being used to limit freedom of the press have also surfaced recently with the withdrawal of Government advertising from one newspaper in Guyana that was critical of the governing party. This action has attracted protest from the Inter American Press Association.

Conclusion

The territories of the Caribbean share much, including breath taking natural beauty. Unfortunately they share common problems of abuse of rights which are not always addressed with the will or alacrity which the Caribbean NGO community would wish to see.”

(Quelle: The Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights.)

Jamaica und der “Krieg gegen die Drogen”

Sonntag, Mai 30th, 2010

“Critics: Rising Jamaican Death Toll Rooted in So-Called “War on Drugs”

Jamaicanarrests

Jamaica’s death toll continues to rise in the search for alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, wanted by the United States. Jamaican police have confirmed that seventy-three people, the vast majority civilians, have been killed in clashes between security forces and Coke’s armed supporters. Rights groups are raising questions about possible unlawful killings by security forces. We speak to Carolyn Gomes of the Kingston-based group Jamaicans for Justice and professor and author Benjamin Bowling, who writes that “the chaos in Kingston is symptomatic of the failure of US-led cocaine prohibition.” [includes rush transcript]

Guests:

Benjamin Bowling, professor of criminology and criminal justice at King’s College and author of the forthcoming Policing the Caribbean: Transnational Security Cooperation in Practice.

Carolyn Gomes, executive director of the group Jamaicans for Justice.


RUSH TRANSCRIPT

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JUAN GONZALEZ: We go now to Jamaica, where the death toll continues to rise in the search for alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, wanted by the United States. Jamaican police confirmed Thursday that seventy-three people, the vast majority civilians, have been killed in clashes between security forces and Coke’s armed supporters. Rights groups are raising questions about possible unlawful killings by security forces in the Tivoli Gardens area of the Jamaican capital of Kingston. Amnesty International has called for a thorough investigation.

Meanwhile, Coke himself is still eluding arrest. American prosecutors describe him as the leader of the Shower Posse gang that murdered hundreds of people during the cocaine wars of the 1980s. Jamaica’s former national security minister recently described Coke as the most powerful man in the country. After months of resisting US pressure to extradite Coke, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding reversed his position and declared a state of emergency Sunday, vowing to capture him.

AMY GOODMAN: Coke had previously mobilized votes for Golding’s party, and the Prime Minister even hired a lobby firm in Washington—Manatt, Phelps & Phillips—to try to get the US authorities to drop the extradition request.

Well, for more, we’re joined now by two guests.

Benjamin Bowling is professor of criminology and criminal justice at King’s College, London, and author of the forthcoming book Policing the Caribbean: Transnational Security Cooperation in Practice. His latest piece in The Guardian is called “Jamaica Bleeds for Our War on Drugs,” where he writes, quote, “the chaos in Kingston is symptomatic of the failure of US-led cocaine prohibition.”

And on the line from Kingston, Jamaica, we’re joined by Carolyn Gomes. She is the executive director of the group Jamaicans for Justice.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s start in Jamaica with Carolyn Gomes. Tell us what’s happening on the streets right now and what you think needs to happen.

CAROLYN GOMES: It seems relatively calm. Certainly the attacks on police and police stations, the attacks—the broad-based attacks across the island, Spanish Town, that seems to be tuning down, calming down. What needs to happen is that we need to get smart in this “war” that—quote-unquote, that we are fighting. We need to stop and show that the abuses of citizens’ rights, which have characterized the operations of our security forces over many, many years, are not occurring, and that if any—that we have independent oversight of the operations as they are occurring right now. And we need clear, clear assessment of what happened in the last few days.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, there has been a history in Jamaica by the security forces of killings of civilians that have not been properly accounted for?

CAROLYN GOMES: Absolutely. We’ve reported on it to the Inter-American Commission. There are numerous reports. Over decades, the police, our police—rate of police fatal shootings is one of the highest in the world. Last year, our police killed 246 civilians. And there has not—in the last ten years, there’s been one prosecution of a policeman for illegal use of force. It’s a real problem that we have a complete and total impunity for abuse of rights in Jamaica.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Bowling, you’re saying this is a failure of the war on drugs. Can you explain what you see is going on right now in Jamaica? You have the former minister of national security, Dr. Peter Phillips, saying Tivoli Gardens—that Christopher “Dudus” Coke is possibly more powerful than the Jamaican Labor Party itself.

BENJAMIN BOWLING: Well, I think that, in the broadest context, the prohibition of drugs has led to the creation of a clandestine market, which is a kind of straightforward and obvious point, really, that if the war on drugs, in its pursuit of what is seen by many people as a kind of evil, fails to actually, you know, prevent the growers and the kind of shippers and the consumers in the US and in Western Europe from using cocaine, then the only way that people can get hold of it is on the clandestine market. So prohibition creates the clandestine market, which then requires arming in order for the traffic to proceed. The US is—the flow of firearms southwards from the US via the Gulf states and Puerto Rico is extreme. Jamaican people have complained for many, many years that the northwards—the pressure to prevent a northwards flow of drugs has not been matched, to any extent, by the US attempt to prevent the southward flow of guns. That then links with a long-established, ongoing kind of political corruption and links between the so-called “garrison communities,” organized crime groups, the dons, right up through the political structure. So cocaine has essentially created a massive funding base for people who understand themselves and see themselves and present themselves as businesspeople. And that organized crime now reaches right through to the very heart of government. And when it’s threatened, when this sort of terror state of the dons and the posses is threatened, they clearly respond with armed violence.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, what do you make of the fact that the Jamaican government, after resisting the extradition, then does this massive attack and somehow still has not captured the object of their search, Christopher Coke?

BENJAMIN BOWLING: Yeah, I mean, it’s absolutely extraordinary. It’s tragic. And, you know, my heart goes out to the families of the people who’ve lost loved ones and the people who have been injured in this, you know, in my view, entirely wasteful folly, and clearly not just unproductive, but counterproductive, in terms of loss of life. And, I mean, I think the first thing is that, you know, as Carolyn says, the way in which the police have conducted themselves over recent years—over many years, in terms of extrajudicial executions, in terms of political corruption within the police and across government, it’s hardly surprising that the government should have attempted to conceal their wrongdoing and to lobby to protect people who many within the community, many within the political class, see as their own.

Why exactly at this point the government has chosen to turn a kind of resistance of handing over Coke into an offensive will need to be explored by an investigation, which I think absolutely needs to happen. It isn’t just how the police have conducted themselves on the street that needs to be investigated. What is now needed is a thorough-going investigation, a public investigation, of corruption within the police service, within government, the links with organized crime on the extrajudicial executions, and how all this links together, because in order to respond to it, in order for Jamaica to move forward, there needs to be something, in my view, close to a truth and reconciliation process and a disarmament of the people on the streets who understand themselves, within the organized crime groups, within the streetcorner groups, as soldiers. And that is—you know, we need to talk disarmament. We need to talk demobilization of people who see themselves as soldiers. And a more thorough-going and positive response, not warfare. That approach is not working.

AMY GOODMAN: Benjamin Bowling, we’re going to have to leave it there. Carolyn Gomes, as well, thank you very much, from Jamaicans for Justice. And finally, that comment at the beginning of this segment, the blue-chip law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips signing a $400,000 contract to lobby on behalf of the government of Jamaica. Charles Manatt is the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, who also represents the Dominican Republic, where he was an ambassador ten years ago, hired to fight the extradition of Christopher Coke.


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(Quelle: Democracy Now!)

Siehe auch:

Jamaica bleeds for our ‘war on drugs’

Jamaica: Nicht nur Urlaubsparadies

Dienstag, Mai 25th, 2010

“Deaths as Jamaica unrest spreads

Gun battles have escalated in the streets of the Jamaican capital, Kingston, after police raided the stronghold of an alleged drug kingpin wanted by the US.

Panicked residents, who tried to flee as fierce fighting erupted between the security forces and gang members loyal to Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, said they had seen bodies lying in the street.

At least three people are known to have been killed, including one police officer. Several men were arrested, but Coke remains at large.

Several airlines on Tuesday cancelled flights to and from Kingston after foreign governments issued emergency warnings against travel to the city.

‘You must realise, we are fighting a war,’ said Glenmore Hinds, the deputy commissioner of police, as local media reported that Jamaican bloodbanks were seeking emergency donations.

Coke, who is wanted in the US on drug and gun charges, has been holed up in Tivoli Gardens, a western Kingston neighbourhood, since the Jamaican government signed his extradition order to the US last week.

Emergency

Gangs allied with Coke took up arms to fight the extradition late on Sunday after Bruce Golding, Jamaica’s prime minister, imposed a state of emergency.

The measure covers the western part of Kingston and St Andrew districts.

‘The criminal element who have placed the society under siege will not be allowed to triumph,’ Golding said on Monday in a televised address.

He promised ‘strong and decisive action’ to restore order.

Owen Ellington, Jamaica’s police commissioner, said ‘scores of criminals’ from drug gangs across the Caribbean island had joined the fighting.

Elon Parkinson, a presenter on Jamaica’s 90 FM radio station, told Al Jazeera that Kingston had seen hours of intense street fighting with some buildings being hit by mortar shells.

‘A drone is flying over the area ostensibly identifying targets and as soon as they are identified, soldiers start pelting their houses,’ he said.

‘Where it concerns negotiations regarding Mr Coke’s surrender, hopes are fading. His [supporters] indicated to us about an hour ago that any deal between the US and Jamaican authorities would be almost impossible, especially with the way the onslaught is taking place.’

Parkinson said that Coke has concerns about going into Jamaican custody because his father, who was supposed to be extradited in 1992, burnt to death in his prison cell in what Jamaican police said was an accidental fire.

Barricades

Tensions in Jamaica rose over the last week after Golding reversed his long-standing refusal to extradite Coke to the US.

The Jamaican prime minister had previously stalled the case for nine months claiming the US indictment relied on illegal wiretap evidence, but he changed his stance amid a growing public outcry over his stand.

US prosecutors describe Coke as the leader of the ‘Shower Posse’ that murdered hundreds of people during the cocaine wars of the 1980s.

Relations between Jamaica and the US grew strained when Jamaica ignored an earlier extradition request for Coke, who is a supporter of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party and wields influence in the inner city constituency that Golding represents.

The US State Department said on Monday it was ‘the responsibility of the Jamaican government to locate and arrest Mr Coke.’

Coke faces life imprisonment if convicted.

The drug trade is deeply entrenched in Jamaica, which is the largest producer of marijuana in the region and where gangs tied to the trade have become powerful organised crime networks involved in international gun smuggling.

The drug trade has also fuelled one of the world’s highest murder rates with Jamaica experiencing about 1,660 homicides last year among a population of just 2.8 million peo”

(Quelle: Al Jazeera.)

Siehe auch:

Es war einmal in Jamaika