WIKILEAKS: McKenzie tried to prevent Coke extradition
The British-based Guardian newspaper has released a damning cable from the US Government obtained through Wikileaks which claims that the Mayor of Kingston Desmond McKenzie met with US Embassy officials to lobby against the extradition of alleged crime lord, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
The leaked cable dated September 2, 2009, said McKenzie started the meeting by pointedly stating that the Government of Jamaica faced a serious crisis because of Washington's request for the extradition of Christopher Coke to stand trial on narcotics and firearms charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
According to the cable, McKenzie warned about "severe repercussions" and "collateral damage" if Coke were to be extradited.
The Mayor also reported that in recent years his administration had worked with Coke to reduce crime in the inner cities of Jamaica, particularly in West Kingston adding that if he were to be extradited, it would "leave a vacuum," and matters would be much worse. McKenzie noted that in recent days several of his "contacts in the communities" had told him they "would not take this (Coke's extradition) lying down."
The cable also indicate that McKenzie then asked Embassy Officials if there were any room for further discussions with U.S. officials. But they replied by reiterating that the U.S. expected Jamaica to honor its obligations under the Extradition Treaty, and considered this a case of great importance; however, the Embassy would convey the Mayor's assessment and inquiry to Washington.
McKenzie concluded by observing that his views were not only an assessment, but accurately portrayed the "grim picture” that the country faced.
Coke was eventually extradited on June 24 last year, exactly one month after an incursion into west Kingston to enforce and arrest warrant on him.
The warrant was signed almost a year after the request was made, and several efforts by the Government to prevent his extradition, purportedly on the ground that his request was made on the basis of illegally obtained evidence.
This morning telephone calls to Mayor Mckenzie’s two cell phones went unanswered and our newscentre was told he was not in office.