Bruce Golding and the ‘Dudus duppy’

Posted on October 7, 2011. Filed under: Social commentary |

Bruce Golding (left) and Christopher 'Dudus' Coke

Golding, Golding… GONE!!!
Jamaica’s Prime Minister finally called it quits after 4 years of leading Jamaica through numerous ups and downs. Orette Bruce Golding who dubbed himself as the “chief servant” at his swearing-in ceremony and also the “driver” while on the election campaign, crumbled under pressure of various types before ‘giving up the ghost’.

Speaking of ghost(s) there were a few things which haunted PM Golding, in fact, one was more than a ghost, and it was a big duppy. Yes, you guessed it, that Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke extradition issue which eventually was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

You see this duppy was poised to haunt Golding even before he took office. His predecessor Edward Seaga managed to escape the same haunting. You see, the relationship between the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Coke’s didn’t just spring up overnight.

History behind the duppy
Once upon a time (let’s say around 1966) after a state of emergency was called in West Kingston, the two main political parties, the JLP and the People’s National Party (PNP), went on what could be described as a ‘recruitment drive’.  During this period one Lester Lloyd Coke aka ‘Jim Brown’, who adopted Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, was a teenager living in West Kingston. He was an active sportsman and also apprentice to a locksmith until one fateful afternoon he was attacked by gunmen. Jim Brown survived the attack but emerged a very different young man – a bad one.

Fast forward a few years and after being associated with or influenced by such controversial figures as Claude Massop, Jim Brown rose to power as it were and became a ‘don’, seizing control of West Kingston and in particular that area we now know as Tivoli Gardens.

Throughout the Coke’s (Jim and Dudus) domination of Tivoli the constituency of West Kingston consistently returned the JLP representative as the Member of Parliament at the polls. Coincidentally, the West Kingston MPs were also the leaders of the JLP and the Prime Minister whenever the party won the general elections. Two such MPs are Edward Seaga, who lead the JLP from 1974-2005, and Bruce Golding, JLP leader 2005 – 2011. Golding inherited, as it were, the West Kingston constituency when he became JLP leader.

Here comes the duppy
Jim Brown lost an extradition battle in court in and was awaiting transfer to the United States from the Tower Street Adult Correctional Facility when he died under mysterious circumstances in his cell on a Sunday in February 1992, the same day his eldest son – and heir apparent – Mark Anthony Coke aka ‘Jah T’ was being buried.

With Jim Brown and Jah T out of the picture, the next in line should have been Leighton Coke aka ‘Livity’, but it was Dudus who was selected to occupy the top rank in this empire. He picked up right where his father left off. Dudus’ criminal activities were well documented and included wiretap evidence which eventually lead him to plead guilty in a US court, essentially bringing an end (or significant halt) to a lifestyle of criminality.

I see dead people
In August 2009 the US authorities officially filed an extradition request for one Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke and what did the Golding-lead administration do? Resist compliance, well at least until May 17, 2010 – a full 9 months later. This later lead to a bloody confrontation between police and civilians intent on protecting Dudus. Estimates are that 73 persons died including 3 lawmen.

Once Golding took this approach of resistance he invited the ‘political grim reaper’ to begin his slow but certain trod to claim the soul of the prime minister’s political career. In fact, it was Golding who said he would put his political career on the line in defending the rights of Coke – spoken like a true political ‘coke head’.

Many Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora were disappointed and angered by the prime minister’s handling of the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips/’Dudus’ extradition affair and in the end the pressure was too much so the pipe burst.

The pressure was too much on Bruce, the JLP and the people of Jamaica. So, the man who refused to take the title of “Most Honourable” at his swearing in ceremony finally did the most honourable thing and stepped down.

Was it just the ‘Dudus duppy’?
Golding, in his resignation speech, cited his age and the need for young/fresh leadership as other factors influencing his decision.

Were there other skeletons in the closet which scared him stiff? Could it have been international pressure or other things?

We’ll probably never hear about it until somebody publishes a book in years to come or WikiLeaks provides us with a “juicy” cable. You’re secretly hoping for the latter, aren’t you?

Walk good Bruce Golding, cross your fingers and hope you may never have to deal with another duppy. Enjoy the early retirement.

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2 Responses to “Bruce Golding and the ‘Dudus duppy’”

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Bwoy, Garth. I knew snippets of this story but not the whole thing. This is eye opening. To me, having Bruce as Prime Minister was like a relationship. When he started out – I was very much excited thinking he actually stood for change (plus I knew little about political history & my Dad was a supporter so i naturally went along with it). But the more he went along, the more I realized his true colours. And the Manatt Enquiry made me lose ALL hope completely. I broke up with him in my mind from then. It has taken too long for him to step down in my opinion. When the puzzle pieces come together, it all makes sense – but I don’t think full understanding of the story dull the pain for anyone.

On the other hand – great read. Much research done and details presented. I walk away with knowledge and knowledge is always welcome here.

Free up do you think an “ordinary” man such as Christopher Coke was able to amass his alleged fortune? Become the leader of West Kingston? Tivoli Gardens? When men of power..such as Bruce Golding want to keep that power who do you think they turn to? The people of Jamaica! The politians there have used the people of Ja for stay in power..keep their political seats..Dudus took it upon himself to the same thing the politians do..Why is he the “badman”? POLITIANS, POLICE, BREDREN! MI NUH TRUST NONE OF DEM RUDE BWOY DEM!

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