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Golding admits losing Jamaicans’ confidence

Outgoing Prime Minister Bruce Golding admitted he had lost the confidence of Jamaicans to run the country and breached the Jamaican constitution in the scandal surrounding his handling of the extradition of the convicted drug lord and gang leader Christopher “Dudus” Coke. “It was never about Coke’s guilt or innocence,” Golding told Jamaicans in an eight-and-a-half minute national broadcast on Oct. 2. “It was about a breach of our constitution and had it been a person other than Coke it perhaps would never have become the cause celebre that it had turned out to be.”
A public inquiry revealed that information gleaned from wiretapping Coke’s interceptions were  used in Coke’s extradition. In his speech, Golding appeared to pivot his resignation on the legality of the action.

Golding said that the government has since amended the country’s wiretapping law, the Interception of Communications Act, “to permit in the future the action that was taken in Coke’s case but which at that time was in violation of our constitution.” The scandal also revealed Golding’s role in the hiring of an American law firm, Manatt Phelps and Phillips, to lobby Washington in an initial bid to stave off the extradition of Coke, a drug and arms kingpin of the Tivoli Gardens community in Golding’s West Kingston constituency.

The text of Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s address to Jamaica appears in Viewpoint, page 9.