In May 2010, former Prime Minister Bruce Golding ordered Jamaican security forces to invade the neighborhoods of Denham Town and Tivoli Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, to execute an arrest warrant for Christopher “Dudus” Coke, the local “don.” Coke was the head of the infamous Shower Posse, a gang that controlled sizable portions of organized crime activity on the island and was accused by the United States government of drug trafficking and racketeering. This paper explores why Golding risked his own political career and created difficulties for his prominent supporters to prevent the arrest of a thug running a criminal operation in one of the poorest areas of Kingston. It offers a detailed account of the nature of organized crime in Jamaica and the process through which those political/criminal relationships evolved. The paper is organized as follows: the first section discusses the regional, political, institutional, and social context. It provides an overview of four major phases marking the political-criminal relationship in urban Jamaica before turning to the prevalent norms of behavior such as widespread political corruption that have nurtured organized criminal activity and cemented political-criminal relationships in Jamaica over several decades. With the political-criminal nexus as a backdrop, Section II analyzes the nature of organized crime in Jamaica, with specific emphasis on racketeering and drug trafficking. Section III sheds some light on the impact of organized crime on governance, with a particular focus on state legitimacy and provision of basic services. The final section puts forward a series of recommendations for responding to the impact of organized crime on governance in Jamaica.
Arias, E.D. Getting Smart and Scaling Up: The Impact of Organized Crime on Governance inDeveloping Countries. A Desk Study of Jamaica. Center on International Cooperation, New York University, New York, USA (2013) 22 pp.