Follow procedure in 'Dudus' affair
The Editor, Sir:
Clearly, this Christopher 'Dudus' Coke extradition affair has struck a chord with supporters of the People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party on both sides of the political fence, with everyone having arguments of whether the Government is right in not agreeing to the US authorities' request. The fundamental issue is: does the request for his extradition conform to the laws of Jamaica?
I am not a supporter of this man or his alleged criminal activities. However, we all know that it is stupid to be politically biased in an argument without first understanding the ramification of a process and how it works before tagging on to a line like an idiot.
An extradition proceeding is a twofold process:
1) The extradition request is made to the government of a country (through treaty arrangement) for the extraditing of one of its nationals to face trial in another country's legal jurisdiction. However, based on the evidence presented to the requested government, its legal department reviews the evidence with its legal team. Then, if satisfied with the evidence presented, it approves the extradition request.
2) If approval for extradition is granted, it would be up to the accused person facing extradition to proceed with leave to the highest court in the land for a final determination on the evidence presented against him/her. It will only be after all legal avenues have been exhausted and the court determines that the person should be extradited will the request be fulfilled.
But, if for whatever reason(s) the government department finds that the proper procedures were not followed in gathering evidence against the accused, as a right of law, it cannot approve such an extradition request, as it means it would be placing its national in a foreign law enforcement and legal machinery that it cannot guarantee would be fair and just against him or her.
While Mr Coke may or may not have committed the offences alleged against him, it is not on a political whim that the Bruce Golding administration can determine whether or not to agree to his extradition. Under the extradition treaty arrangement between the US and Jamaica, there must be guidelines that determine the proper procedures that both parties should follow.
So, the bullying tactics being used by the Americans to get their own way is only an indication that they are not coming to the process with clean hands. As they have proven on many occasions, they can, and will manufacturer evidence to get any outcome they desire.
Jamaica might be poor and still depend on the United States of America for its survival but it is still a sovereign country.
I am, etc.,