CaribWorldNews, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mon. May 24, 2010: Two-and-a half hours after the Jamaican government declared a state of emergency, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, in a nationwide address, insisted that threats posed by thugs in West Kingston will be repelled.
`The threats that have emerged to the safety and security of our people will be repelled with strong and decisive action,` Golding said, hours after thugs, believed to be loyalists to wanted man, Christopher `Dudus` Coke, orchestrated attacks on a number of police stations leaving two members of the security forces shot and injured.
`What is taking place is a calculated assault on the authority of the State that cannot be tolerated, and will not be allowed to continue,` said the PM, less than a week after he finally agreed to sign a U.S. extradition order for Coke that had languished for months on end.
In West Kingston areas of Tivoli Gardens, Golding`s own constituency, some residents are vowing to lay down their lives for Coke as Jamaica police now seek to enforce a warrant for his arrest.
The tension has been building since Golding`s about face announcement Monday and escalated Sunday with the attack on law enforcement officials.
But Golding last night insisted: `The security forces will be moving swiftly to bring the current situation under control. Criminal elements bent on violence and mayhem will be detained, and processed. The criminal element who have placed the society under siege will not be allowed to triumph.`
As the U.S., U.K. and Canada moved to issue travel advisories against Jamaica, the PM, mired in controversy over the Coke extradition fiasco and his admitted involvement in trying to lobby against the order as head of the Jamaica Labour Party, said the city of Kingston is not being shut down.
`People are assured that they are free to move about and go to work as usual. Schools will be in full session on Tuesday,` he added, amidst fear from numerous sections of Kingston.
The state of emergency, PM Golding said, will remain in effect for a period of one month unless the security forces advise that it should be revoked or unless it is extended by the House of Representatives.
Last night as criticism over the way he has handled the situation continued in Jamaica and in its Diaspora, he urged: `We must confront this criminal element with determination and unqualified resolve. My government is determined that Jamaica must be a land of peace, order and security, without this we will never achieve the happiness and prosperity that we seek.`
Coke, 40, a/k/a `Michael Christopher Coke,` a/k/a `Paul Christopher Scott,` a/k/a `Presi,` a/k/a `General,` a/k/a `President,` a/k/a `Duddus,` a/k/a `Shortman,` was charged last August 28th with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms.
If convicted on the narcotics charge, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $4 million or twice the pecuniary gain from the offense. He also faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the firearms trafficking charge, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the financial gain.