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Coke extradition request signed

Published: Tuesday May 18, 2010 | 5:17 pm Comments 0

Jamaica's Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne has finally signed the extradition order against Tivoli Gardens' strongman, Christopher "Dudus" Coke and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewelyn has secured the required arrest warrant.

Lightbourne's colleague in the Senate, Tom Tavares Finson has withdrawn as Coke's lawyer.

A Government of Jamaica source told The Gleaner / Power 106 News that the signed order was dispatched to the DPP who immediately secured the warrant for Coke's arrest from the court.

The attorney general signed the extradition order nine months after it was placed on her desk.

The resulting delay triggered a prolonged diplomatic stand-off with the United States which culminated in the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips controversy last week.

Last August, the US State Department dispatched a 10-page indictment, accusing Coke of the illicit trafficking of arms and drugs and conspiracy and requested that he be extradited to face the charges.

The US had named nine co-conspirators who had fingered Coke as a major player in the arms and drug running scheme.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding paved the way for the extradition process last night, when he announced that Lightbourne would be signing the extradition order.

Meanwhile, Tavares-Finsonís dual roles as Coke's attorney and a Government Senator has frequently been questioned in the public domain.

He served notice today that he will be withdrawing as Coke's attorney.

Tavares Finson is to be replaced by attorneys, Jacqueline Samuels Brown and Paul Beswick.

For weeks after the extradition request reached Jamaica, the Government maintained a stoic silence on the issue.

The parliamentary opposition and the wider public grew impatient.

As the calls increased in intensity and frequency, the demand for Government response heightened.

Washington signalled that it was less than pleased and growing impatient with Jamaica's attitude to the extradition request.

As the stalemate continued, information filtered through Opposition member, Dr. Peter Phillips that Manatt, Phelps & Phillips had somehow come into the picture.

The Manatt dimension of the controversy would not go away, forcing Prime Minister Bruce Golding to admit that he knew all along about Manatt's engagement to lobby the US Government on the extradition matter.

However, he said it was handled as a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) initiative not the Government.

The Prime Minister's comments elicited the ire of the public and Golding was besieged by demands for his resignation for deceiving the Jamaican people.

Golding recanted last night, apologised and announced that the order would be signed, somewhat silencing the deafening demands for his resignation.


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