Monday, May 31, 2010
Shut up! Adams tells Seaga
BY ERICA VIRTUE Observer writer email@example.com
Monday, May 31, 2010
CONTROVERSIAL and verbose former Senior Police Superintendent Reneto Adams last week strongly recommended silence for former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, who has come out swinging against the government and military operations into Tivoli Gardens, a community that he built in the 1960s and which became the centrepiece of his and the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP's) political support for more than four decades.
Adams, who crossed path with Seaga on several occasions during his 41 years as a police officer, and who had either led or was apart of security operations in the community, called Seaga a hypocrite
"For Mr Seaga to have come out and speak as strongly as he did, about the disruption and dislocation in Tivoli Gardens, I want to say that it is highly hypocritical...", the outspoken retired crime fighter said, minutes after he concluded the keynote address at the Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel last week.
In a stinging broadside against the JLP, and Prime Minister Bruce Golding, his former protégé, Seaga again defended the residents of Tivoli Gardens and said that a massacre had taken place in the community.
He put the death toll at 125, instead of the 73 given by security officials, based on information he claimed to have received from the community. Charging, too, that bodies had been buried as part of a cover-up, based on information he received, Seaga accused Prime Minister Golding of ineptitude.
Adams in 2001 led a police and military team in the community, to ward off a planned attack on Wilton Gardens (Rema) which had suffered more than 100 casualties at the hands of Tivoli Gardens gunmen over the years, with some last week, showing the scars of what they say was Tivoli brutality.
After the four-day standoff in 2001, 27 persons were killed, including security personnel, and Adams crypitically warned then that "Jamaica would pay dearly, dearly, dearly" for the fortification of the community, which has used strong-arm tactics to maintain political support for the JLP in the Corporate Area.
The community is currently under occupation by members of the security forces led by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) who are in search of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who was indicted last August by the United States on drug and gun-running charges.
The 80-year-old Seaga, who relinquished the helm of the JLP in 2005 to Golding, emerged from political hibernation after retirement to academia, in a combative mood which belied his advanced years.
According to Adams, Seaga "nurtured this location, this environment and these people, to the extent that the security forces under a JLP government could not bear the onslaught anymore, that they had to put the police and the army to deal with it in a most effective and efficient way."
"Dare I say, Seaga has only himself to blame..." said Adams.
"I would recommend that instead of criticising, he goes in and try to reorient the people, on a line of decent and civil living. That is the recommendation I would give him," he said.
For its part the JLP has offered no official response to the former leader's charge that the party was split down the middle. However, the party has been distributing an audio of Seaga, responding to a question about "Jim Brown" (real name, Lester Lloyd Coke) the father of Christopher Coke, and who was the leader of the criminal Shower Posse, which was inherited by his son, Dudus.
The audio received on Saturday from a JLP operative quotes Seaga saying that Jim Brown was a protector of the community.
"Look at the man in terms of how the community respect and treats him as a protector of the community," Seaga's voice was heard saying, to loud roars in the background.
But Jim Brown's notoriety spread way beyond Jamaica's shores and the Shower Posse, which he led, and to which more than 1,400 deaths in the United States has been attributed.
The elder Coke died in a mysterious fire while in custody awaiting extradition to the United States.
Not known for tact, South West St Catherine Member of Parliament Everald Warmington has recommended that Seaga go quietly, somewhere, even as he described him as "a bitter old man".
Seaga, who is now a distinguished fellow at the University of the West Indies, has been consistent in his criticisms of Golding's leadership capabilities, describing his departure to the NDM as not a problem.
"It is mischievous for Seaga to be saying that Bruce should have gone in there and defended the people. The prime minister of the land with all of the advisors came to the conclusion that it was necessary to go in there and get criminal gunmen. I want to say to Mr Seaga that it is unwise and unprofessional for him to be criticisng the prime minister in such a fashion," Adams said.
He said it was uncharacteristic for governing parties to have this kind of offensive into communities that are their political strongholds, but it was apparent that their backs were now against the wall.
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Posted by Met From Jamaican Groupies at 9:24 AM
Blair: I met with Coke
BY NADINE WILSON Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, May 31, 2010
CONTRARY to a widespread claim that alleged drug lord Christopher 'Dudus' Coke wanted to make a deal with United States (US) authorities, Political Ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair yesterday disclosed that the alleged don was more interested in taking his chances with a local court instead.
Blair, who also chairs the Peace Management Initiative, told his congregation at the Faith Cathedral Deliverance Centre in Kingston yesterday that he had met with the reputed gang leader twice, prior to last Tuesday's visit to Tivoli Gardens with Public Defender Earl Witter.
The first visit was the Wednesday before, during which time he spent two hours speaking to Coke, whom the US Government had indicted on arms and drug-trafficking charges last August.
"If I go back to Wednesday, two weeks ago, I received a call and I went to Jamaica House. I was requested by the government to go into Tivoli Gardens to see if I could negotiate the surrender of Mr Coke," he said, adding that he later met with the Opposition People's National Party to get their approval, as well.
The ombudsman said that following the approval from both parties, he waited until he was given permission by 'a contact' to go in to see Coke.
"I spent two hours with him. I came out, thank God, safely; I can't tell you what I saw, but just imagine what I saw," he said.
"At that time the place was already fortified and the officers were preparing to go in I begged of them, please if you go in remember there are innocent lives that must be saved," Bishop Blair said.
It was the following day that a group of Coke loyalists, mostly women dressed in white, took to the streets to voice their support for the man who many said was 'next to God'. During the melee, they took to blocking roads in sections of Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town, setting up huge barricades as the security forces seemed to watch helplessly from the sidelines.
But, according to Blair, he had still been in dialogue with Coke, up to that point.
"The negotiations went on until Saturday. I got a call from the security forces who gave me the permission to go back to Mr Coke, with an offer from the United States Government that he turn in himself in," he said.
"He (Coke) feels, or he felt at that time, that his best bet was to wait on the rulings of the court because he felt that the Jamaican courts would treat him better than the American courts, and that's where it ended up until Saturday evening when the security forces decided to go into Tivoli Gardens," the pastor told his congregation which sat quietly listening to his account.
But instead of turning himself in, Coke evaded the security forces which by Monday were engaged in a shootout with a group of Coke's supporters, some of whom it has since been revealed were paid up to $100,000 per day to defend his turf. Military personnel have since revealed that they suspected Coke had fled Tivoli Gardens as early as 4:00 pm, while the operations in the area were going on.
Police said that 73 civilians and three members of the security forces died during last week's civil unrest, which quickly spread to other sections of West Kingston and halted commercial activities in some sections of the Corporate Area.
On Saturday, Public Defender Earl Witter issued a public appeal for Coke to turn himself over to the authorities in the interest of the people. Witter said that he and Blair stood ready to facilitate the process.
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Posted by Met From Jamaican Groupies at 9:17 AM
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Posted by Met From Jamaican Groupies at 8:51 AM