Search

 

Cablegate: Jamaica: Foreign Minister's Views Re High-Profile

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKG #0701/01 2612229
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 182229Z SEP 09 ZFF3
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0024
INFO RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0001
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0016
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0016

C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 000701

SIPDIS
STATE FOR WHA/CAR - J.MACK-WILSON, W.SMITH, V.DEPIRRO
L/LEI - C.HOLLAND, A.KLUESNER
INR/IAA - G.BOHIGAN
INR/RES - R.WARNER
JUSTICE FOR OIA - P.PETTY
TREASURY FOR E.NEPHEW
AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN PASS TO AMEMBASSY GRENADA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/09/18
TAGS: CJAN PREL PGOV SNAR SOCI ECON ASEC KCOR KCRM JM XL
SUBJECT: JAMAICA: FOREIGN MINISTER'S VIEWS re HIGH-PROFILE
EXTRADITION REQUEST

REF: STATE 85807 (181409Z AUG 09)(NOTAL)
KINGSTON 655 (2821557Z AUHG 09); KINGSTON 666 (021935Z SEP 09)
KINGSTON 676 (041911Z SEP 09); KINGSTON 680 (082054Z SEP 09)
KINGSTON 697 (18150Z SEP 09)

CLASSIFIED BY: I.L. Parnell, Charge, State, Kingston; REASON: 1.4(A),
(D)

Summary

1.(C) The Government of Jamaica (GoJ) has responded to the USG's
request for the extradition of reputed "Don" Christopher Coke, to
face charges in New York of trafficking in drugs and firearms, with
a diplomatic note (transmitted septel) requesting additional
information. The GoJ's Minister of Foreign Affairs stresses that
the timing of the request is "extremely delicate" because of the
economic crisis facing the country; the GoJ will have to carefully
"review the situation" and adopt "measures to address the social
consequences," weighing the "implications for stability," and
recognizing that "unrest is possible." End Summary.

2.(C) The Government of Jamaica (GoJ)'s Minister of Foreign
Affairs & Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, summoned ChargC) to a
private meeting on the morning of Sept. 18; Baugh was accompanied
by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade (MFAFT)'s
Minister of State Dr. Ronald Robinson, Permanent Secretary Amb.
Evadne Coye, and Under-Secretary for Bilateral and Regional Affairs
Amb. Paul Robotham. Baugh began by saying that, based on input
from the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, the MFAFT was
preparing a diplomatic note in reply to the U.S. extradition
request for Christopher Coke (reftel A); MFAFT's note would be
ready within a few minutes. He then said he hoped that
communications between the GoJ and USG could be treated
confidentially, and that no public statements would be made.

3.(C) ChargC) thanked Baugh for the chance to meet and for the good
overall relationship between the USA and Jamaica, and then
reemphasized the importance attached by the USG and the Embassy to
this extradition request. The USG appreciated the 15-20 years of
consistency in effective implementation of the Extradition Treaty,
and was disappointed that the GoJ had stretched out this particular
request so long. The USG had worked judiciously with various
levels of the GoJ to ensure the bona fides of the request, and had
been candid in explaining what was happening and how. Therefore,
we had been perplexed by the GoJ's expressions of "surprise" and
questions regarding the bona fides of the request. We were not
suggesting that the GoJ should not ensure that the request meets
the standards of due process; however, in light of the care taken,
we were disappointed with the progress to date. We understood that
the GoJ would request that confidential witnesses be named in the
request; Baugh confirmed that this was one of the technical
problems which would be delineated in the GoJ's forthcoming
diplomatic note (septel). ChargC) pointed out that Footnote No. 1
of the request had addressed this issue; we therefore viewed this
objection as problematic. The USG had given the GoJ the first
indications that this extradition request would be forthcoming over
two months ago, and had sought the GoJ's counsel at every turn.

4.(C) Baugh then said that he had no details of whatever
consultations may have taken place before the date of delivery of
the extradition request. He then said that, in any event, the
timing of the request was "extremely delicate" because of the
economic crisis facing Jamaica; the GoJ would have to carefully
"review the situation" and adopt "measures to address the social
consequences," weighing the "implications for stability,"
recognizing that "unrest is possible." Current economic conditions
made this extradition request "politically difficult." He noted


that the Cabinet had met three times in the last week in an effort
to meet the IMF's conditions for assistance to Jamaica. The
economy had lost 30-40,000 jobs in the current recession, and
remittances were in decline. This extradition had "special
significance" in light of the poverty and economic crises
experienced by Jamaica in the 1970s and 80s; the formal economy had
been unable to offer jobs, and therefore many marginalized
Jamaicans had been forced to turn to the informal economy to
survive. Over this period, Jamaica had become a "channel" for
illegal drugs in high demand in North America and Europe; Jamaica
was "at the mercy" of Latin America and North America, but "we
still cooperate" with the USA, even though our people are
"vulnerable" and drugs/arms trafficking had become "embedded." The
Caribbean Basis Initiative had been conceived as a "mini-Marshall
Plan" for the region, but when the Caribbean was not included in
NAFTA, the region had "lost ground." Coke was not just a "drug
kingpin;" he was a powerful figure embedded in critical
socio-economic needs of many Jamaicans. Something of a Mexican
standoff had evolved: if Coke were arrested, this might be
perceived as unjust by many Jamaicans, resulting in an uproar which
could end up destabilizing the country.

5.(C) ChargC) said he knew the case was not an easy one, and
recognized the challenges; nevertheless, the U.S. position was that
the GoJ must honor the provisions of the Extradition Treaty. The
USG was concerned that whole communities had become dependent on
the trafficking of drugs and firearms. If Coke were not
extradited, this would set a dangerous precedent for possible
future extradition requests; the USA-Jamaica partnership rested not
just on dealing with easy cases, but difficult ones, as well. The
U.S. expected no differences in the steps for handling this
particular request. It would be problematic to end this discussion
thinking that the GoJ would not adhere to treaty provisions due
simply to the social/economic/political concerns that might apply
to individual cases..

6.(C) Baugh then said that the GoJ's first concern was with the
security of the country; therefore, it must manage the extradition
process carefully, making sure that "everything is on track." Many
Jamaicans had been denied basic necessities by the "circumstances
of birth," and the GoJ must "establish equity." In many ways,
Jamaica was reaping the results of what was happening in the U.S.
and UK. He then said he was happy to work with the U.S. and
Secretary Clinton on regional programs to advance the security and
economy of the Caribbean. The GoJ wanted to cooperate fully, and
was committed to honor the Extradition Treaty - but in ways that
"can avoid destabilizing the country."

7.(C) ChargC) then noted that a failure to extradite Coke would
represent "a serious step backward." One of the reasons for
security concerns in Jamaica's "garrison" communities was precisely
because Coke and others were importing firearms and trafficking
drugs. ChargC) asked whether the GoJ took the position that
extradition treaty provisions only applied to lesser criminals;
Baugh replied that anyone found guilty should be dealt with
according to law, and then noted that the "technical aspects" of
the Extradition Treaty must be decided by the Solicitor General and
Ministry of Justice, bearing in mind the GoJ's duty to ensure that
the rights of individual citizens were protected. ChargC) then
pointed out that several years ago the Jamaican courts had ruled
that there was no requirement that extradition requests name
witnesses. Baugh said he would be surprised if the Solicitor
General and Ministry of Justice were unfamiliar with the court's
previous rulings vis-C -vis extradition requests. Baugh then raised
concerns over a recent lawsuit by a Jamaican who had been
extradited to the USA, filed on the grounds that extradition
procedures had not been followed properly. ChargC) noted that a
number of extradition requests in which witnesses had not been


named had been successfully processed by the GoJ; the U.S. was
disappointed that the GoJ had not moved more expeditiously and
positively in the Coke case, but would continue to look for ways to
move forward.

8.(C) Baugh then again inquired about the possibility of keeping
all communications between the USG and GoJ confidential.. ChargC)
assured Baugh that he would continue to alert the GoJ regarding any
anticipated USG press releases, but noted that he had no control
over what other agencies of the USG may release in the USA. Baugh
then noted that the publicity to date surrounding the extradition
request had "created disadvantages." He then asked how word of the
extradition request had ended up in the public domain. ChargC)
noted that he was equally surprised to see press reports about the
extradition request only one day after the diplomatic note had been
delivered to the MFAFT. ChargC) noted that the Embassy could not
commit to issuing no statements to the press until we had had time
to review the GoJ's diplomatic note. ChargC) also advised Baugh
that, during his upcoming visit to New York, he may receive a call
from A/S Shannon expressing USG interest in the extradition case.

9.(C) Baugh then expressed hopes for continued cooperation and
friendship between Jamaica and the USA, and asked that Washington
keep in mind that Jamaica's small economy loses 80% of its human
capital to North America and the UK, and got criminal deportees in
return, saying "we're victims, not the cause" of crime, and calling
the relationship "asymmetrical." ChargC) responded that the U.S.
wanted to remain a good partner, and by pointing out:

-- recent statements by Secretary Clinton and President Obama
acknowledging that the U.S. demand for illegal drugs was a critical
component of the drug problem;

-- the need for both societies to take advantage of opportunities
to remove elements of crime and violence;

-- and the importance of confidence in the rule-of-law in
attracting international investors and tourists to Jamaica;


ChargC) concluded by wishing the Foreign Minister a pleasant and
successful visit to New York for the UNGA.
Parnell

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>