Tue | May 30, 2023

Obama vs Golding: Jamaica loses

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

I read where Barack Obama, president of the United States of America (USA), has designated Jamaica a narcotics transit country. The Obama administration is claiming that Jamaica is not serious about fighting transnational crime and is corrupt by not charging public officials. This is coupled with the undue delay in the extradition of Christopher Coke.And in the other corner, Bruce Golding has responded by claiming that the wiretaps were illegal.

The reality is that Jamaica has far more to lose than Obama or Golding. Jamaica is a country with eight consecutive quarters of negative growth, and last year was the worst year in our history in terms of the number of murders, and the corruption index is getting worse, and we are fighting a battle with our major trading partner and a country which could be helpful to us in the fight against crime.Am I missing something?

The prime minister should test his claims in the courts or seek the help of the Organisation of American States or the United Nations, but a stalemate is not good for Jamaica's socio-economic future.

A member of parliament who is supportive of Golding's position told me that the wiretaps were done by Jamaican security officials.Then, even if the wiretaps were illegal, it would mean that one arm of government supplied the USA authorities with ill-gotten information, and then another arm is using that to deny proceeding with the extradition.

Many persons are commenting on the Extradition treaty with Jamaica without reading the treaty, which was signed in 1983 by Winston Spaulding, then minister of national security, and US ambassador to Jamaica William 'Bill' Hewitt.I would suggest persons read Article VIII, which deals with "Extradition Procedures and Required Documents", because there is nothing there about what the prime minister is claiming.

But even if the PM has good grounds and the USA is being unfair, how do we fight the most powerful economy in the world? Get an arbiter.We cannot bully the USA.The USA will continue the political pressure.And this is the problem.

Minor action

The revocation of US visas might become minor when compared with other actions from the USA Congress and the Obama administration through its State Department.In addition, we must be careful of what we are saying.If we claim that the cancellation of Wayne Chen's visa has nothing to do with the extradition, then what is it about? Mistake by the USA, or USA bad-mind, or something Chen has done? So, if it has to do with the extradition, then we have serious problems at hand because other pressures will come, and not only from the Americans, but also the United Kingdom and Canada.Let us get an independent opinion.

Stead Williams, in a letter to the editor (March 6) in support of the PM, is against the route of the courts and likened the treatment of Coke to Jesus when he wrote, "I trust that Rev Dr Devon Dick will notice that this was how Jesus was railroaded."

Unfortunate comparison

This is a most unfortunate comparison. We should note that Jesus gave up his life for the benefit of all and subjected himself to an unfair justice system.Unlike the situation in Jesus' time, there are now many opportunities for justice, even after the attorney general has signed the extradition order. The defendant can challenge it in a Jamaican court. And even after that, he can appeal to the attorney general, who can refuse to sign the order based on perceived racial, religious or political victimisation.And even after that, he will have an opportunity to challenge the case in the US courts.This was not how Jesus was treated. Yet, through that sacrifice the world can experience salvation.

So there is no salvation for Jamaicans while Obama and Golding spar, instead, Jah kingdom goes to waste and Jamaica stands only to lose.

Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church and author of 'The Cross and the Machete: Native Baptists of Jamaica - Identity, Ministry and Legacy'. Feedback may be sent to columns@gleanerjm.com