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Cops paint scenario in the event of 'Dudus' extradition

Friday, March 19, 2010    

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THERE is growing fear among some members of the island's security forces that if Christopher 'Dudus' Coke has to be extradited, elements of the criminal underworld could put aside political differences to wage a united battle against law and order.

Three senior lawmen with understanding of how local gangs operate, Wednesday said they believed such a situation was very possible. The cops requested that their names not be disclosed, as they were not authorised to speak to the Observer.

"We are not ruling out anything at this time," said one of the lawmen who, at the same time, warned that the police would not cower in fear in the face of any such assault.

The other two cops, each with over 10 years' experience in the force, referred to the incident that occurred in 1998 when Donald 'Zeeks' Phipps, then PNP strongman from the Matthews Lane area, was first held by police, as evidence of a scenario that could be re-enacted.


The cops recalled that over 1,000 angry, placard-bearing protesters converged on the Central Police Station in downtown Kingston where Zeeks was being held, shouting "Justice for Zeeks!" and demanding his release.

"The angry mob, some of them not PNP (People's National Party) supporters, protested for two days demanding that if Zeeks was not released, life would not return to normal," one of the senior lawmen recalled.

The incident resulted in the death of one person and the injury of several others. Phipps was later brought onto a balcony where he was allowed to address his supporters, calling for calm from a police megaphone.

The lawmen said they believed that the Zeeks incident would pale in comparison to what could take place in the case of 'Dudus', the Tivoli Gardens don.

"Right now, there is a strong belief that Tivoli Gardens is a 'stronghold' revered by gangs from all political corners," one of the senior officers suggested to the Observer.

Another member of the group shared the same view but believed that other gangs from across the island could get involved for other reasons.

"What you have to understand is that many of the criminals, because of 'assistance' that Tivoli may have provided for them in the past (in terms of equipment), might want to join hands and help to create diversions to draw the police attention away from the area," said the cop.

National Security Minister Dwight Nelson has gone on record as saying that high-level police intelligence revealed that 268 gangs were operating throughout Jamaica.

He said Government was focusing on preparing strong anti-gang legislation that would target, infiltrate and dismantle criminal gangs.

The legislation, Nelson said, would also identify and arrest members of criminal gangs; ensure long sentences for gang members; conduct a thorough historical and proactive investigation into the activities of gang members; and develop intelligence as to each member's association with and participation in gangs.

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