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Suspicious editorial push

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2010 | 12:00 AM


I AM never one to shy away from a principled stance but The Gleaner's almost obsessive focus on the extradition request of the United States for Christopher 'Dudus' Coke is suspicious. It almost appears that a day doesn't pass that The Gleaner is not raising the issue.

I have no difficulty in the media mounting public pressure on anybody and, as the Fourth Estate, it is an integral feature of a democratic state and an important safeguard for good governance. What seems strange, though, is that even when the extradition issue is only tangentially relevant to another news item, The Gleaner makes a concerted effort to marry the two.

Each time it writes, it accuses the Government of 'dragging its feet', oblivious to the fact that other extradition requests have taken longer to be complied with by previous governments. Numerous countries around the world do not have extradition treaties, or for certain matters and, even where they do, there is due diligence in the process.

More patience required

What The Gleaner doesn't focus on is that a citizen of Jamaica, despite his reputation, is entitled to all the rights and protection under the Constitution and international law. The time might very well come when the minister will have to sign that document and the court process will have to take its course. We should, however, be a little more patient. If the Government is in fact trying to delay the inevitable and its response to date is nothing but a smoke screen, this too will become apparent.

We should, however, allow more time for the process to take its course and not engage in any indecent haste. There have been other instances where the rights of our citizens have been trampled on and they were extradited without due process. Even if this is a test case, perhaps the Government should be commended for exercising due diligence.

As Jamaicans, though, we would want to see similar care taken to protect the rights of citizens in the future, not only in extradition matters but a respect overall for their basic human rights. The Gleaner should perhaps make this the focus of its next editorial.

I am, etc.,


London School of Economics