The American authorities have become frustrated at what they see as foot-dragging by Jamaica’s government over their request last August for the extradition of a man they say is the leader of an “international criminal organisation”.
A “Gang Threat Assessment Survey” conducted by the Jamaican government last year reckoned there were 268 criminal groups in Jamaica, earning cash from extortion, selling cannabis, transporting cocaine, contract killings, prostitution and international cybercrime. Many of them are merely small-time thugs. But the United States Justice Department has put Mr Coke on its “world’s most dangerous” list, accusing him of directing drug deals as far away as New York.
Mr Coke’s home patch is Tivoli Gardens, a tough inner-city garrison close to the waterfront. It is the core of the Kingston Western parliamentary seat, held since 2005 by the prime minister, Bruce Golding, and for 43 years before that by Eddie Seaga, his predecessor as leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).