Social commentary

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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An alternate view on violence in society

Posted on April 30, 2011. Filed under: Social commentary |

When we reflect on the history of seemingly ‘random’ violence or other forms of highly offensive, irrational behaviour, we see a common pattern of reaction from the public and media in their attempt to explain such extreme acts.

Rather than deeply examining the nature of human social development and the vast spectrum of influences that create and shape each of us in unique or even detrimental ways, they take the easy way out.

The first thing they do is simply ignore all modern scientific, social understandings of what generates human motivation in both positive and negative regard; for to do so can only call into question the social system itself and hence the intellectual climate of the time/culture at large.

Generally speaking, it is historically accurate to say that the mainstream media (especially in America) simply isn’t in the business of challenging the Status Quo.

The limits of debate are firmly set. Virtually all ideas, persons or groups who have succeeded in changing the world for the better, later to be hailed as heroes in the public mind, started out being condemned by those in the mainstream media.

Even Martin Luther King Jr., a peaceful, loving, wonder of a man who contributed more to our social progress than likely any humanitarian in Western history, was followed by the CIA and labelled once as a “Communist” which he even had to defend in front of a Congressional Committee.

In fact, you can rest assured that if King was alive in the current paradigm today and seeking an equal form of justice – he would probably be given the name: “Terrorist”.

So, again, rather than taking the scientific view, the Mainstream Media often seeks out or implies one point of blame and runs with it.

After all, it is much easier, presentable and more simplistic for the public to think that the troubling reality of seemingly random acts of mass murder is the result of a “singular influence” and hence the logic goes that if that one influence is removed, then the world will be back in balance.

This gives the public a false resolve and position of focus in an otherwise unclear, complex world of social and biological influences.

And as far as the scapegoat itself, very often any group or media that is “counter-culture” or even hints at wishing to challenge the status quo, is a magnet for such blame.

Or in another case some people are content to say, “These are signs of the times, all we have to do is pray”. I say it is not enough to just pray, some action is necessary. I dare say we need more action than prayer.

For example, musicians who represent this “counter-culture” have been a favourite scapegoat for acts of murder/violence historically.

Buju Banton – “Boom bye-bye”, Bounty Killer – “Fed Up”, Chuck Fenda – “Gash dem & light dem” and many other Jamaican songs were singled out and banned because they were to “blame” for inciting acts of violence.

Frankly, it’s simply pathetic – avoiding the true nature of the problem – which is the socio-economic environment itself.

Make no mistake: The Social System is to blame for the rampage of any serial killer, lone gunman who goes on a shooting spree or gang who’s defending turf or killing for reprisal.

I read a book called “Violence” by Harvard Criminal Psychologist Dr. James Gilligan. Dr. Gilligan headed the Centre for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School for many years. He spent his life personally engaging the most dangerous, violent offenders the US system produces, he found some basic trends.

The most common is the social issue of “shame”.

The global socio-economic system breeds social division and there is a natural demeaning of “others” generated as a result.

It is a scientific fact that mass murderers and those who many just dismiss as “evil” today, are the product of years of being shamed, humiliated and demeaned.

Their acts of violence is a reaction from these highly oppressive feelings and the real resolve to such acts can only come from removing the real source of such emotional hurt.

What our leaders and media should be focusing on, is critical thought regarding various social issues which challenge many erroneous notions held as “fact” in the modern culture and remodelling the current socio-economic system which puts over 80% of the world’s wealth in the hands of less than 10% of the world’s population.

We must promote non-violence, human unity and prosperous human development based on truth and science.

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