State Of Emergency: Spotlight On Jamaica
New Jack City‘s classic character Nino Brown (played by Wesley Snipes) has come to life in the form of Christopher “Dudus” Coke. While Brown, disguised as a legitimate businessman, ran the streets of Harlem with a heavy hand during the early 90′s era of crack cocaine, Dudus is allegedly doing the same in Kingston, Jamaica. And just like Brown, alleged drug lord Dudus has a number of his “constituents” as supporters—so much so, he’s now in hiding in the exact same neighborhoods where he works his trade.
The government of Jamaica has declared a state of emergency this week in Kingston, with gangsters battling police and security forces to defend Dudus, who is currently sought by the United States. Residents in West Kingston neighborhoods have set up barricades to prevent the police from entering the slums to execute the order. At least 44 people have died during fighting, while the whereabouts of Coke (pictured below) are currently unknown.
Since the state of emergency was declared, people have not been allowed out of their homes to get food, water or other essential supplies. The Red Cross are currently working with residents to provide needed supplies.
According to BBC News, Coke has “thousands of loyal followers who have promised to protect him at any cost”:
Mr Coke, 41, insists he is a legitimate businessman and enjoys the support of many impoverished Kingston residents who see him as a benefactor.
The U.S. Justice department accuses him of being one of the world’s most dangerous drug barons.
He is said to lead a gang called the Shower Posse—owing to the volume of bullets used in shootings—and operate an international smuggling network.
He faces a life sentence if convicted on charges filed against him in New York.
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said he regrets the loss of life and vows to restore order. However, Golding is also currently facing questions about his possible ties to Mr. Coke.
For up-to-date information on the situation in Kingston, you can follow on Twitter Laura Redpath from Kingston’s The Gleaner newspaper.