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Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding faces no-confidence vote by Parliament

June 1, 2010 |  5:22 pm


Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding on Tuesday pledged tougher measures against gangs even as the country’s Parliament introduced a no-confidence motion against the leader after a police action last week that left more than 70 people dead.

“Gunmen who no longer flee when the security forces approach but engage them with vicious firepower must be confronted with the full force of the law,” Golding said, according to news reports. “The time for equivocation is over.”

The violence, which drew widespread criticism, resulted from the search for alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who remained at large. Parliament was preparing Tuesday to censure Golding for his handling of a U.S. request to extradite Coke.

As La Plaza pointed out last week, a former prime minister of Jamaica has been blunt in his criticism of the security operation in Kingston, the capital. In an interview with L.A. Times special correspondent Chris Kraul, Edward Seaga called for Golding's resignation.

Seaga and Golding are rivals within Jamaica's Labor Party; both have represented the West Kingston area that encompasses the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood, Coke's stronghold. "The criminals are not the people who have been killed, just innocent people leaving their houses. The armed forces shot every man they could find," Seaga said.

There is no indication now that Golding will step down, but Seaga's claims are supported by Kraul's reporting. From this article in The Times, about a Kingston mortuary:

One of those waiting outside was Debbie Dale, whose son, Jamie, 21, was shot to death inside her house Wednesday in the Kingston Three neighborhood. She said about 10 officers knocked down her door and shot him at close range.

"They took me outside the house while they questioned him. Then I heard the shots. They dragged him out by the feet, threw him in a van and drove away. Only then could I go inside. There was blood everywhere," Dale said. "They said later he died in a shoot-out, but he didn't have a gun."

Residents alleged that some of the killings by security forces were random.

Angry Tivoli Gardens residents lashed out against the operation in this video produced by the Jamaica Gleaner. Coke remains at large and is assumed to have left the area. Golding, meanwhile, is defending his government's actions against "dons" in Kingston's tough "garrison" neighborhoods, saying,  "This effort must be sustained. It may be a long haul but there must be no letting up."

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: A police officer and a scrawled message in support of Christopher "Dudus" Coke in Kingston, Jamaica. Credit: Associated Press.