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Archive for May, 2010

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

ONE LOVE MUSIC #770

AIRS 5/24 – 5/30/10

 

DESMOND DEKKER – OO7(SHANTY TOWN)

BOB MARLEY & WAILERS – BURNIN’ & LOOTIN’

MICHAEL PROPHET – GUNMAN

JULIAN MARLEY & DAMIAN MARLEY – VIOLENCE IN THE STREETS

SPIRITUAL – (STOP THE WAR)JAH AH DI ROOTS

OSSIE DELLIMORE – HOW COME?

ADMIRAL TIBET – ENVIOUS PEOPLE

YAMI BOLO & CAPLETON – PUT DOWN THE WEAPON

GENTLEMAN – ROUND THE WORLD

LADEN – REALLY LIKE YOU

LUTAN FYAH – NUH TALK

EVERTON BLENDER – THROW DOWN YOUR ARMS

KYMANI MARLEY – WHO WE ARE

POPCAAN – DREAM

GAPPY RANKS – KEEP MOVING ON

MISHKA – GIVE THEM LOVE

MISHKA – JUST KEEP LIVINI’

KONSHENS – FAIRWEATHER FRIEND

BEENIE MAN – WHO I AM

TARRUS RILEY – BEWARE

SHAGGY – BONAFIDE GIRL

JAH CURE – NEVER FIND

QUEEN IFRICA – FAR AWAY

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Christopher Dudus: most wanted drug kingpin or Kingston’s Robin Hood?

He is described as Jamaica’s most powerful man, an alleged drug lord with close ties to the island’s Government, revered as a god-like benefactor in the Kingston district that he rules — and wanted in the US as one of the world’s most dangerous criminals.

Christopher “Dudus” Coke inspires such loyalty in the impoverished neighbourhoods of west Kingston, a stronghold awash with automatic weapons, that thousands of his followers have vowed to fight to the death if police try to extradite him to America.

Such devotion appeared to become bloody reality yesterday after troops and police stormed Mr Coke’s Tivoli Gardens neighbourhood stronghold to hunt for him. By last night, after heavy gun battles, at least 60 people had died, mostly civilians.

When Bruce Golding, the Jamaican Prime Minister, who represents the Tivoli Gardens district in Parliament, announced last week that, after nine months, he would enforce a US extradition request for the alleged drug kingpin, protesters took to the streets.

“After God, then Dudus,” one resident’s sign read. “Jesus died for us so we will die for Dudus,” another placard declared. Their fight-to-the-death passion is for a man who allegedly heads the “Shower Posse” gang, so called because of the way that it showers victims with automatic gunfire.

The extradition request, made after a New York grand jury indicted Mr Coke in August on charges of selling crack and cannabis and trafficking weapons in the US, threatens to topple the Jamaican Government; such is the political clout enjoyed by the man also known as “President”, “Pres”, “Bossy” and — at 5ft 4in (1.6m) — “Shortman”.

Tivoli Gardens, where Mr Coke hands out jobs, provides clothes and education for children and forbids street crime, is a stronghold of Mr Golding’s ruling Jamaica Labour Party.

Analysts said that the Prime Minister tried to avoid extraditing Mr Coke because, as one put it, “he knows too much” about corrupt ministers. Moreover, they said, Mr Golding wanted to avoid a confrontation with the people who put him in office.

Mr Golding was forced to admit that his Government had hired a US lobbying firm, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, to try to have the extradition order overturned. “I regret the entire affair,” Mr Golding said in a television statement last week. “In hindsight, the party should never have been involved and I should never have allowed it.”

The Robin Hood figure that Mr Coke, 41, cuts in his neighbourhood contrasts with his reputation in America. The US Justice Department describes him as “one of the world’s most dangerous narcotics kingpins”. Mr Coke’s gang is blamed for more than 1,000 murders.

Mr Coke is accused of using mainly women “mules” to ship drugs to US cities for more than two decades. In an affidavit used to support the extradition request, which was seen by The Times,one former mule, named as “ Co-operating Witness 2”, said that women who travelled to New York to buy clothes to sell back home, were ordered by “the President” to carry cocaine hidden inside their bodies to the US. “If the girls refuse to do so, then their businesses will be threatened and the clothing they sell and the money that they earn will be stolen,” the woman stated.

If Mr Coke is extradited and convicted he faces a mandatory life sentence and millions of dollars in fines.

In Tivoli Gardens residents are preparing for all-out war to defend the man they revere. The last time police tried to storm Tivoli Gardens, in 2001, 26 people died in a three-day stand-off.

The Jamaican Government had argued originally that the wiretaps that the US used to record Mr Coke’s Kingston mobile phone were illegal.

A US State Department spokesman said: “All evidence … was acquired in a manner consistent with existing international agreements.”

Public enemies

American forces invaded Panama in 1989 to remove the dictator Manuel Noriega, accusing him of aiding drug trafficking. He was captured after trying to seek refuge in the Vatican’s Embassy, tried in the US for drug offences and sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment

The Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar built up a personal empire during the 1980s when his Medellín cartel dominated the global drug trade. He was killed in 1993 by Colombian forces

Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, known as “El Ajedrecista” (the Chess Player) was hunted for decades by US authorities, captured in 1995 and extradited to Miami in 2004. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic drugs and was jailed for 30 years

Source: Times database

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Jamaica unrest prompts tourism worries

By A. Pawlowski, CNN
May 25, 2010 10:53 a.m. EDT

Tourists walk on a beach at a resort in northwest Jamaica. The country is heavily dependent on tourism.

Tourists walk on a beach at a resort in northwest Jamaica. The country is heavily dependent on tourism.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tourists wonder if it’s safe to go to Jamaica as violence breaks out in Kingston
  • Experts: Visitors should feel few effects of the unrest if they stay in the island’s resort areas
  • Travel agents: Kingston is several hours away by car from the resort areas
  • Few travelers ever make the city a destination, they say

(CNN) — As the tourist-brochure images of Jamaica as a friendly, reggae-infused tropical paradise become overshadowed by footage of gang violence in the capital, many tourists may be wondering whether it is safe to stay on the island or go for a vacation.

Unrest surrounding the planned extradition of an alleged drug kingpin prompted Jamaican authorities to declare a state of emergency in parts of Kingston on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Jamaica, warning U.S. citizens against travel to Kingston and its surrounding areas because of escalating violence.

Still, both travel experts and officials from Jamaica’s tourism industry said that as the situation stands now, visitors should feel little impact of the unrest if they stay in the island’s most popular resort areas.

They include places like Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, Port Antonio and the south coast, said John Lynch, Jamaica’s director of tourism.

“People are having a great time there. We had a great weekend, most of the hotels were full,” he said.

But he acknowledged that some people are rearranging their trips because of the violence in Kingston and expressed concern that the situation would have a negative effect on tourism in Jamaica, an industry he called “very, very, very crucial.”

Worried vacationers

Travel and tourism account for a quarter of Jamaica’s gross domestic product, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, and the country markets itself aggressively as a vacation hotspot.

But for some travelers, the violence in Kingston may deepen existing concerns about overall safety on the island.

“Jamaica is a challenge to sell on a good day,” said Terry McCabe, national director of leisure for Altour in Paramus, New Jersey, adding that many visitors are turned off by some of the aggressive hawking on beaches and other image problems.

“When I talk to a new client, I’ll say to them, ‘What do you like, what don’t you like, and before we start working on this process, are there any places you won’t consider?’ Ninety-eight percent of them say to me Jamaica.”

Crime, including violent crime, is a serious problem in Jamaica, according to the U.S. State Department. The primary concern for tourists is theft, it says, adding that in several cases, armed robberies of Americans have turned violent.

iReporter shares Jamaica travel tips

Still, 1.8 million tourists came to Jamaica last year — about two-thirds of them from the United States, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Since the unrest began in Kingston, travel agents like Becky Veith with Travel Experts in Erie, Pennsylvania, have been getting lots of questions from worried clients who are scheduled to vacation on the island in the upcoming days and weeks.

“I have clients who are going to Jamaica in June, and they e-mailed me and said, ‘What should we do, should we cancel our trip because of the civil unrest in Kingston?’ ” Veith said.

“I e-mailed them back and said no. … I wouldn’t be afraid to go to Montego Bay. I wouldn’t go to Kingston, though, but I wouldn’t go to Kingston at any time.”

Should you go?

Travel agents emphasized that the capital is several hours away by car from the resort areas and that few travelers ever make the city a destination.

“It’s virtually nonexistent on the tourist level,” McCabe said. Most people who fly into Kingston visit friends and relatives or are there for business, she added.

Veith said she has never sent anyone to Kingston, calling it “not a good place to go.” The city has a history of some unrest, added Brooke Ferencsik, a spokesman for TripAdvisor.com.

Travel experts urged travelers to Jamaica to follow the situation closely, but not to let the turmoil in Kingston automatically taint the rest of the island.

They compared the situation to recent violence in Mexico, which has been centered near the country’s border with the United States but has affected tourism in Cancun and other popular spots far away from the unrest.

“It would be like me saying I can’t go to the United States because there are murders in New York City,” Veith said.

If you are thinking about booking a trip to Jamaica, consider travel insurance, Ferencsik advised. It’s a good additional safeguard during unpredictable circumstances because it gives you the leeway to rebook during a time where you might be more comfortable traveling, he said.

“Jamaica still has so much to offer. Those terrific resorts like Montego Bay, Ocho Rios — they will continue to bring in travelers,” Ferencsik said. “And travelers, while staying on top of the news, should feel comfortable going to those spots.”

Kingston Erupts!!!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010
Jamaica: Gunfire, fire bombs in barricaded slum

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Masked men torched a police station and traded gunfire with security forces in a patchwork of barricaded slums in Jamaica’s capital Sunday, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.

Sporadic gunshots rang out in gritty West Kingston where defiant supporters of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, a Jamaican “don” sought by the U.S. on drug and arms trafficking charges, turned his Tivoli Gardens neighborhood and other areas into a virtual fortress with trashed cars and barbed wire.

In barricaded Hannah Town, close to Tivoli Gardens, black smoke spiraled into the sky from a police station set aflame by molotov cocktails.

Officers fled the burning station in impoverished West Kingston, where a 2001 standoff between gunmen and security forces killed 25 civilians as well as a soldier and a constable

The Jamaica Constabulary Force reported one wounded Sunday: a police officer hit in the hand by gunfire.

Police said the attacks by gangsters roaming the streets with high-powered guns and improvised weapons were unprovoked. It called for all “decent and law-abiding citizens” in the troubled areas to immediately evacuate their homes and said security forces would ferry them out safely.

The violence erupted after a week of rising tensions in the capital over the possible extradition of Coke to the United States.

After Prime Minister Bruce Golding reversed his long-standing refusal to extradite Coke, the alleged kingpin’s supporters began barricading the streets and preparing for a fight.

Earlier Sunday, police urged the neighborhood boss to surrender, calling the heavy barricades encircling his slum stronghold a sign of “cowardice.”

The U.S., Canada and Britain issued travel alerts Friday warning of possible violence and unrest in Jamaica. Most islanders have been avoiding downtown Kingston entirely.

The state of public emergency, limited to the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, will be in effect for one month unless extended or revoked by lawmakers, the government said.

Coke is described as one of the world’s most dangerous drug lords by the U.S. Justice Department. He has ties to the governing Jamaica Labour Party and holds significant sway over the West Kingston area represented in Parliament by Golding, who stalled Coke’s extradition request for months with claims the U.S. indictment relied on illegal wiretap evidence.

Golding’s fight against the extradition strained relations with Washington, which questioned the Caribbean country’s reliability as an ally in the fight against drugs. His handling of the matter, particularly his hiring of a U.S. firm to lobby Washington to drop the extradition request, provoked an outcry in Jamaica that threatened his political career.

Coke, who typically avoids the limelight, has remained silent. He faces life in prison if convicted on charges filed against him in New York.

Jamaica’s political history is intertwined with the street gangs that the two main parties helped organize — and some say armed — in Kingston’s poor neighborhoods in the 1970s and ’80s. The gangs controlled the streets and intimidated voters at election time. In recent years political violence has waned, and many of the killings in Kingston now are blamed on the active drug and extortion trade.

The Rev. Renard White, a leader of a Justice Ministry peace initiative that works in Jamaica’s troubled communities, said Coke is a strongman who wields enormous power and whose followers are ready for violence if they think it is in his best interest.

“Clearly the government has to take a strong hand, but they must also tread very, very wisely so people are not hurt,” White said. “But a lot of these guys in Tivoli Gardens, they are really pretty desperate.”

Coke was born into Jamaica’s gangland. His father was the leader of the notorious Shower Posse gang, a cocaine-trafficking band with agents in Jamaica and the U.S. that began operating in the 1980s and was named for its members’ tendency to spray victims with bullets.

The son took over from the father, and expanded the gang into selling marijuana and crack cocaine in the New York area and elsewhere, U.S. authorities allege.

Lawyers for Coke — who in addition to “Dudus” is also known as “Small Man” and “President” — have challenged his extradition in Jamaica’s Supreme Court.

Buju Banton - Banton Drug Trial Postponed

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Buju Banton & Beenie Man

Caption: Reggae singers Buju Banton (Picture) & Beenie Man backstage at Reggae Bash 2009 in the James L. Knight Center Miami, Florida ….

Banton Drug Trial Postponed

Reggae star BUJU BANTON will have to spend another two months in police custody after his trial date for drug charges was delayed until June (10).

Banton, real name Mark Myrie, has been behindbars since his December (09) arrest, when he was caught allegedly attempting to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer in Sarasota, Florida.

The case was expected to go to trial on Monday (19Apr10), but U.S. District Judge James Moody has now pushed the date back to June (10). No reason was given for the change.

Banton pleaded not guilty to the accusation in January (10) and his lawyer, David Oscar Markus, has filed an official complaint in court, claiming the U.S. government entrapped the star into a drug deal.

Banton faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

He is due in court on 21 June.

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Reggae Sumfest Moves Ahead Despite Challenges

Published: Wednesday | May 19, 20100 Comments and 0 Reactions

Johnny Gourzong

THE PROMOTERS of Reggae Sumfest, Summerfest Promotions, has indicated that despite the challenges facing the event, the annual festival will take place from July 18-24 at Catherine Hall, St James. The organisers are also appealing to stakeholders to work with them in finding creative solutions to the challenges to stage the 18th edition of the ‘Greatest Reggae Festival on Earth’.

Johnny Gourzong, executive producer of the festival, cites reduced sponsor support and increased production and artiste fees as some of the challenges being faced. He said, “Reggae Sumfest is important to Jamaica’s tourism and impacts positively on the economy and despite reduced sponsorship, we decided it was important to beat the odds and host the festival this year.”

Traditionally, Reggae Sumfest has hosted a mixture of local and international acts that have distinguished the event as an eclectic mix of good music and performers. In light of the fiscal challenges, the organisers said they gave great consideration to omitting international acts this year. However, after further consideration, the stakeholders agreed that international acts should be included on this year’s line-up as the mix of genre and cultures is the essence of the event and such a cut back would adversely affect the marketability of the show.

Reggae Sumfest is an annual event that provides an avenue for new and established local talent to demonstrate their showmanship to an international audience as well as a wide cross section of the Jamaican society. The brainchild of a group of Montego Bay businessmen, Reggae Sumfest was first held in 1993. The show has traditionally featured top reggae and dancehall performers, but hip hop and R&B acts like Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Boyz II Men and Lionel Richiehave also made appearances on the Sumfest stage.

The festival kicks off on July 18 with a beach party. The three-day live event begins on July 22.

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

ONE LOVE MUSIC #768

AIRS 5/10 – 5/16/10

 

COLLIE BUDDZ – SERIOUS

NAS & JR. GONG – AS WE ENTER

BARRINGTON LEVY, SNOOP & MIMS – WATCH DEM(MUREDERER)

KONSHENS – REALEST SONG

LEFTSIDE & LLOYD PARKS – WELCOME TO JA

LOUIE CULTURE & MIKEY SPICE – GRAB YUH LASS & COME

MIKEY JARRETT & FRIENDS – HELP HAITI

BEENIE MAN & TRISTON PALMA – JAH POWER

QUEEN IFRICA – SERVE & PROTECT

TANESHA – MISTY BLUE

TANYA STEPHENS – IT’S A PITY

SIZZLA – PERFECT ONE

LUCIANO – IT’S ME AGAIN JAH

BUJU BANTON – DRIVER A

CULTURE – THIS TRAIN

JIMMY CLIFF – GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT

PETER TOSH – CAN’T BLAME THE YOUTH

EVERTON BLENDER – LIFT UP YOUR HEAD

TARRUS RILEY – INTIMATE RESERVATIONS

WAYNE WONDER – LOVE & AFFECTION

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

ONE LOVE MUSIC #767

AIRS 5/2 – 5/8/10

 

BUNNY WAILER – CONGRATULATION SOUTH AFRICA

POPCAAN & KARTEL – CLARKS

COLLIE BUDDZ – COME DOWN

CAPLETON – SOME DAY

ELEPHANT MAN – DISTANCE

NAS, JR. GONG & DENNIS BROWN – LAND OF PROMISE

PRESSURE – BE WHAT YOU WANT TO

GYPTIAN – HOLD YOU(SOCA REMIX)

MARY J. BLIGE & JAH CURE – EACH TEAR

KIPRICH – NUH UGLY SO

JAH CURE – JAH BLESS ME

ASSASSIN – HAND INA DI AIR

G-WHIZ – LIFE

JOHN HOLT – SATISFACTION

SLY & ROBBIE FEAT. JUNIOR DELGADO – FORT AUGUSTUS

MARCIA GRIFFITHS – BACK IN THE DAYS

BARRINGTON LEVY – MARY LONG TONGUE

EEK-A-MOUSE – SLOWELY BUT SURELY

ISRAEL VIBRATION – LEVEL EVERY ANGLE

DUBSKIN – FOR THE STRONG

STEEL PULSE – BORN FI REBEL

ROMAIN VIRGO – THIS LOVE

BERES HAMMOND – GOOD LOVE