Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | September 28, 2009
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Ministry still mulling over Dudus - Gov't playing by the books - Golding

The Government is continuing to defend its handling of the United States' extradition request for West Kingston strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

In recent days, there has been mounting concern about the time it is taking for the justice ministry to decide if it will sign the request, with questions being asked about whether the delay is linked to the fact that Coke is an influential figure in the West Kingston constituency which is represented by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

However, Golding yesterday argued that the justice ministry was following the rules under the Mutual Assistance Treaty (The Extradition Act).

"Jamaica is committed to honouring its obligations under that treaty. The treaty sets out the procedure that is to be followed (and) the due consideration that is to be exercised by the (justice) minister," Golding told Jamaica Labour Party supporters in Kingston yesterday.

Protecting rights

"The minister's obligation first and foremost is to protect the rights of Jamaican citizens," Golding said to loud applause.

He said that while Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne must be respectful of the legal principles which govern criminal prosecution in a foreign jurisdiction, she must also be mindful of the principles of law in Jamaica.

"There are legal issues that need to be addressed. We have informed communications through the appropriate channels with the United States Government," said Golding.

Lightbourne had previously announced that the extradition request was being considered by the Solicitor General's department, which will provide her with advice.

Law-enforcement authorities in the US have requested that Jamaica extradite Coke to answer charges associated with the trafficking of illegal drugs and firearms.

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