What if 'Dudus' was not destroyed?


What if 'Dudus' was not destroyed?


Sunday, July 05, 2020

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A few weeks ago I wrote an article questioning where our country would be had Reneto Adams not been destroyed. Adams' demise was the fall of a great crime-fighter, maybe our greatest.

Well, I felt it would be appropriate to look at where we would be if our greatest criminal had not fallen.

Christopher “Dudus” Coke was not your regular, garden variety thug who controls a road, or even a community. This man was the don who controlled a country. He controlled not just Tivoli Gardens, but satellite communities across the island. He was feared not just by the residents in his little kingdom, but by people across the entire country.

His influence and control extended not just to poor people, but to leaders of industry and, in fact, the leader of the nation.

This may sound farcical to the very young among us who did not live under Dudus' tyranny, or witness our prime minister at the time defending him in Parliament.

The exposed among us realised that what we were seeing was not the compliance of a winning partner, but the survival of a besieged man. And this was the prime minister!

The power, tyranny and history of Dudus, Tivoli Gardens and the Coke dynasty could take up this entire column. This week we are looking not at what we were, but rather at what we could have been.

The fall of Dudus was the result of a law enforcement investigation conducted in the United States and we cannot claim any accolades for it. However, we did capture him and destroy his kingdom.

Had this fall not occurred, I believe he could one day have become a parliamentarian. Who could have stopped him?

This would have resulted in an end to diplomatic relations with the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union.

The real threat from Dudus, however, was his one day being able to be the 'Single Don' for the whole country. I think he could have done it; he almost did.

Bear in mind that he was able to convince gunmen across the country to stand with him — likely to their deaths — during the Tivoli incursion. This was not limited to gunmen from Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) communities, but also from People's National Party (PNP) garrisons.

So would this singular ruler have meant more murders or fewer?

Well, at the peak of Dudus' power in 2009, Jamaica had its highest-ever murder count — 1,690. That is 55 per 100,000. Not even in Colombia during Pablo Escobar's reign of terror was this rate ever achieved.

Based on this analysis, it does not appear that the 'Single Don' environment would have been more peaceful. In fact, it would have been so brutal and so powerful that we would likely have had to negotiate territory with Dudus, or create a tax to pay him. It would likely have courted an invasion by a foreign army, similar to what occurred in Panama in 1989.

Why is this so relevant now? Because he is coming right back!

His sentence of 23 years will bring him home in a little over 12 years, or earlier, you never can tell.

What then? If we don't have a charge waiting for him, it will not take him long to unite western Kingston again. And then how long will it be before the threat of national domination presents itself once more?

The guns, to a large degree, are still right there.

You see the thousand-odd deaths now occurring annually? Well, that, to a large degree, is gangsters killing gangsters. That fire power could easily be directed against the country's armed forces, citizenry, or Government instead.

The solution? The Parliament of this country needs to establish a law similar to the US Homeland Security Act that allows for the indefinite detention of people who represent a threat to national security. And Mr Coke should be the motivation behind the creation of this law.

This will involve adjustments to the Constitution to allow for the enactment. This will also require a Parliament of no political colour — other than our national colours; the abandonment of the political divide; and nothing more than the will of the 60-odd elected representatives who care more about our nation than themselves.

The Tivoli incursion was the Jamaican army and police force's most steadfast stand against tyranny and the greatest demonstration of our military prowess. It was also the most unfortunate loss of life in any single setting, resulting in the death of over 70 gunmen.

The loss of life, injury to citizens and cost to our country must mean something. It will mean nothing if this don returns and re-establishes his empire.

We dodged gang domination twice before — in 1980 and again in 2010. It would be a shame if in 2034 my son's and grandson's generations are forced to fight the battles already won by mine and my father's.

We took down the empire. We need to keep it down.

Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail.com

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