I lived and reported from Kingston, Jamaica in 2003 and 2004, it was brilliant in many ways- going dancing to Passa Passa, Weddy Wednesdays, Asylum, Sumfest was great. But it was also very hard – the expense and hardship, the crime and violence, poverty and injustice. I have another blog Jamaica Salt where I post all my Jamaica thoughts, please click to have a look at that.
In 2010, there was a big story brewing. The Don of Tivoli Gardens – a man called Christopher Coke, known by everyone as ‘Dudus’, who ruled one of the most notorious of Kingston’s ghettos – received a warrant for his arrest from the USA for gun and drug smuggling. The government were stalling on complying with the extradition request. Many questions were being asked. How far were the government complicit in a powerful criminal network making lucrative profits from the drug trade?
Barricades are up in Tivoli Gardens as residents vow to die for Dudus
Rumour and tensions were high. People were feeling jumpy. No-one wanted to talk about Dudus in public, such was the hold he had over locals. Some were fearful of his reputation as a criminal drug lord who showed no mercy to his enemies. Others, from Tivoli Gardens, were fiercely loyal to him and spoke eloquently about his Robin Hood persona – using his wealth to fund school books and uniforms and business loans to the city’s poor.
Mugshot – Dudus following his arrest.
Eventually he gave himself in, but not until the government led a bloody shootout into Tivoli Gardens, killing many people in their path.
Listen to the documentary – Jamaica’s Godfather
Listen to the From Our Own Correspondent – FOOC Jamaica
See the photos – View the slideshow