On The Road To Tivoli

Richard Drayton is Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King's College London

Richard Drayton, Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King's College London

In the wake of the Tivoli Gardens West Kingston battle recently which projected a negative image of Jamaica worldwide. The Jamaica Tourist Board now has its work cut-out to do the damage control necessary to protect its product. It is unfortunate what has happened in Jamaica and no doubt the Tivoli Dudus Coke Affair has given cause for deep introspection by its neighbouring islands. Jamaica is a country which has never recovered from the folly of Michael Manley’s socialist policies of the 70s.

We are reminded that earlier this year Jamaica contracted to borrow a whopping 1.27 billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund. To quote the IMF, the money will help Jamaica, a Caribbean country of 2.8 million people, implement its two-year plan, which includes:[sic]

• Reform of the public sector to substantially reduce the large budget deficit

• A debt strategy to reduce debt servicing costs

• Reforms to the financial sector to reduce risks.

Many commentators have opined that Barbados and several other Caribbean islands are on the same path which Jamaica has travelled if we do nothing. Even if this is true the opportunity remains to make decisions to arrive at a different destination. It will call for leadership from our leaders to resist growing global pressures.

How much of the current crisis is being driven by the need of the interlocked global security establishment to justify its existence? What price will be paid in Jamaica for the transformation of policing into counterinsurgency? What are the long-term consequences for democracy of treating the urban poor as an enemy population to be beaten into submission, of the militarisation of policing, of the expansion of intrusive surveillance of society? These questions should be asked far beyond Jamaica – BU Source

The following UK Guardian article was written by the son of the late head of BARP Kathleen Drayton’s son. Richard Drayton is Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King’s College London. The article makes some interesting linkages which some may find intriguing, others may find it ridiculous.

From Kabul to Kingston

Army tactics in Jamaica resemble those used in Afghanistan – and it’s no mere coincidence

For two weeks, the Jamaican army and police have fought gun battles in Kingston. The many allegations of human rights abuses committed by the security forces – including extrajudicial killings and the disposal of bodies – have received almost no international attention. Nor have the linkages between the Jamaican crisis, the security establishments in the US, Britain and Canada, and the mutations of the “war on terror”.

But strategy and tactics deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are being applied in Jamaica. Drones fly over Kingston, and were used in the 24 May assault to select targets. On 7 June, Tivoli residents discovered that to enter or leave the area they had to produce “passes” issued by the police (revised, after protests, to restrictions on movement after dark). There is blanket surveillance of electronic communications in breach of Jamaican privacy protections – indeed, it was the illegal provenance of some of the evidence against Christopher “Dudus” Coke that initially held up extradition proceedings.

Propaganda “information operations” are at full tilt: while the army guides the Jamaican press on tours in which soldiers pat the heads of children, and in which criminal “torture chambers” are revealed, abroad we are told this is just about breaking drug gangs.

That Kingston today resembles aspects of Kabul is not by chance. In 2008, the Jamaican army’s Major Wayne Robinson submitted a master’s thesis to the US Marine Corps University: Eradicating Organised Criminal Gangs in Jamaica: Can Lessons be Learned from a Successful Counterinsurgency?.

In October 2009, the manual on counterinsurgency operations of the US joint chiefs of staff equated police action against “criminal organisations” with counterinsurgency, and described key tactics – including aerial and electronic intelligence and targeting, the use of “passes” to restrict movement, and information management. For two years the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) has combined operations in Afghanistan with training the Jamaican special forces, the Ninjas. In March 2010 Jamaican newspapers reported a joint US-UK-Canada intelligence operation was being run from Kingston.

Advisers from all three Nato powers are active in Jamaica. The Jamaican army has been tightly integrated with the US military since the early 1980s. The irony is that the criminals the army now fights were also, in substantial part, created by the US and the Jamaican Labour party (the JLP, which now governs) in the 70s and 80s.

The origins of Coke’s Shower Posse lie in the cold war. In 1972 Michael Manley, of the People’s National party, was elected prime minister. He increased the taxes paid by US and Canadian mining companies, while leading third world demands for new international economic and information orders. Jamaica opened relations with Cuba, and defended Havana’s sending troops to defend the Angolan government exactly when the US and apartheid South Africa were arming rebels against it. What had happened in Chile in 1971-73 came to Jamaica, except that in the Caribbean the US also used crime and terrorism to destabilise the regime.

As the CIA station in Kingston became one of the largest in the world in the mid-70s, weapons flooded in to political gangs. A campaign of arson and bombings, allegedly organised by anti-Castro Cubans, spread chaos: one old people’s home burnt to the ground with the death of 150 women. Critically, the transshipment of cocaine from South America began in the late 70s. At the centre of this unrest were the gangs of Tivoli, of which Lester Coke (Dudus’s father) was a key leader. These criminals were enforcers for the JLP and gave help in the 80s to the covert allies of the Nicaraguan Contras through the cocaine and arms trades.

Perhaps the west, belatedly, wants to clean up some of the mess it made in Jamaica. But in 2009, the CSOR’s commanding officer admitted the Jamaican operation helped his unit compete in the “resource-scarce environment” of Canada’s defence ministry.

How much of the current crisis is being driven by the need of the interlocked global security establishment to justify its existence? What price will be paid in Jamaica for the transformation of policing into counterinsurgency? What are the long-term consequences for democracy of treating the urban poor as an enemy population to be beaten into submission, of the militarisation of policing, of the expansion of intrusive surveillance of society? These questions should be asked far beyond Jamaica.


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15 Comments on “On The Road To Tivoli”

  1. BAFBFP June 16, 2010 at 5:20 AM #

    Richard Drayton always seem to hit the nail on the head… But how is this possible when he lives all the way in the UK..?

    “the folly of Michael Manley’s socialist policies of the 70s”
    I think your source Drayton has dumped on that opinion.

    I wonder if any Barbadians know that drones were used in Jamaica? Drones for Christ sake, and the soldiers are probably torturing “intelligence rich detainees” as well.

    “Transformation of policing into counterinsurgency” started happening in the Caribbean way back when the New Jewel Movement came to power in Grenada. That is the true reason why the Barbados Defence Force was formed by Tom Adams, and has since been maintained. Does anyone really think that a BDF could defend Barbados from an invasion or from an “international Terrorist” (whatever that is)?


  2. David June 16, 2010 at 5:28 AM #


    Our BU source is not Richard Drayton.

    You don’t agree that Manley’s policies placed Jamaica in doo doo in the 70s?


  3. Hants June 16, 2010 at 7:30 AM #

    Next hot topic. Human trafficking.


  4. Adrian Hinds June 16, 2010 at 12:43 PM #

    This is absolute nonsense. I will be guided by the reports by the on the ground news reports on facebook. What the hell does Richard Drayton in the UK know for certain about events in Jamaica? Right under his nose in Jolly old England, they are no shortage of stories of the state stepping on people rights, why does he not write about that?


  5. Hopi June 16, 2010 at 2:53 PM #

    Just look at this know-nothing cracker GeORGY pORGY.

    When will he admit that it is the shitstem in AmeriKKKA and IsraHELL and the eLIATs with their FEARthquake machine causing us to live in James BONDage?

    Julia ROBerts understood the whole CONspirscy, so why didn’t “Dick” Gere in “PrETTY woMAN”?

    AfRIca is like RIhanna.

    I is a batty girl, but I as with Dudus, always, for Rihanna and Afrika.


  6. Adrian Hinds June 16, 2010 at 4:30 PM #

    This is good, David. Excellent reporting.


  7. David June 16, 2010 at 6:09 PM #


    Maybe you are a tad too harsh in your comment directed at Richard Drayton. He after all has Barbados lineage and one does not have to reside in a country to know its history. What happened in Tivoli is a manifestation of years of subcultures taking root.


  8. Hopi June 16, 2010 at 9:29 PM #

    I too don’t see any folly in the socialist policies of Michael Manley.

    The professor of Imperial History is on to something of substance, because what we are witnessing in Jamaica is a high stench of IMPERIALISM like deja-vu but it is now masked with a Black face which gives it a friendly disguise.

    Dudus coke will be used to further decimate Jamaica, just like Weapons of Mass Destruction was used to decimate Iraq, Osama Bin Laden has been and is still being used to decimate Afghanistan and now al-Qaeda is being used to decimate Pakistan and Yemen.

    Today there’s a fine line between the military and civilian forces worldwide. They all look the same and their functions are now closely intertwined. The police is sent abroad to learn the tactics of the beast. While the military is used to invade foreign lands, the police is used to surpress dissent at home.

    From whence did Jamaica acquire these drones?

    This is all done in the name of the beast that are drawing the noose tighter and tighter each day around our necks.


    lordee, that ass showed up here too. boy is it really that bad?


  9. BAFBFP June 16, 2010 at 9:46 PM #

    Thanks Hops, I din’ goin’ to fight dis one by myself. You lead and I gun jump in. I still lil’ rusty righty now. Should be peakin’ in a couple days. Trying to catch up wid all dese posts since I lef’.. Dis woman hey got me miserabal, but she sweet…


  10. Hopi June 17, 2010 at 8:54 AM #

    @BAFBFP………….Man you didn’t skip a beat, still true to form. Nice to see you back!
    As for the BDF, JDF and all these other Fs, they were birthed to quell what is called ‘civil insurrection.’ The queen’s/crown’s ASSets must be protected at all cost. It won’ t look too good to see the Royal so n’ so come down to 166sq to protect their interest. So the best way to go about it is to send de little boys over to Sandhurst, the School of the Americas and the Washington District of Criminals to be trained in the ‘right’ tactics.


  11. Cheryl June 17, 2010 at 11:35 PM #

    The reporters asked Sylla what other payments they would have to make to match the financial assistance offered by Japan. There were several.

    Japan, Sylla revealed, pays Guinea’s £7,900 annual IWC membership fee as well as funding his country’s attendance at the meetings. Travel, hotels and meals were all paid for and each delegate receives up to $300 a day spending money. The average annual wage in Guinea is $1,000.

    On the occasions that Guinea’s minister attends as the IWC commissioner, he or she is provided with a car by Japan and spending money. “Minimum, you understand minimum? Maybe one thousand [dollars] a day,” Sylla said.

    The cash is handed over by Japanese officials at meetings in envelopes. Sylla said that at some meetings he was given the money for the minister.

    Reporter: And then you give it to the minister?

    Sylla: Yes. Not straight to the minister.

    Reporter: Why not?

    Sylla: You know, you know, the minister is a political man.

    Reporter: So they don’t want it to seem like they are corrupting the minister.


  12. ac June 22, 2010 at 6:24 PM #

    dudus apprehended by jamaican police


  13. David June 22, 2010 at 6:43 PM #



    **Breaking News** Confirmed- Rev. Al Miller and Dudus were stopped randomly during a spot check along Mandela Highway. – On the Ground News

    Jamaican ‘drugs lord Christopher "Dudas" Coke captured’

    Page last updated at 22:42 GMT, Tuesday, 22 June 2010 23:42 UK

    E-mail this to a friend

    Printable version

    Christopher "Dudas" Coke is wanted in the US

    Police in Jamaica say they have captured suspected drugs lord Christopher "Dudas" Coke on the outskirts of the capital Kingston.

    The Jamaican government wants to extradite Mr Coke to the US to face charges of drug and gun trafficking.

    Attempts to capture him in May led to clashes which killed scores of people.

    Mr Coke, 41, is accused of being the leader of the notorious Shower Posse, which US authorities say operates an international drugs and guns network.

    The gang has also been blamed for numerous murders in Jamaica and the US.

    Police said Mr Coke had been captured in the Portmore area of St Catherine Parish, Reuters reported.

    There were no immediate reports of violence during the capture.

    The Jamaica Observer said Mr Coke was being held at Spanish Town police station which was surrounded by soldiers.

    The operation to capture Mr Coke last month centred on his stronghold in Kingston’s Tivoli Gardens.

    More than 70 people were killed in gun battles between police and armed young men.


  14. propaganda press June 23, 2010 at 3:30 PM #

    Chris Gayle accepts $$ from cocaine merchant Salim Azeez to play cricket in Guyana

    please stay on this story. we’ll have more info tomorrow [thurday24th june 2010]


  15. ian March 29, 2012 at 9:10 AM #

    As a pundit of not only carribbean history but also world history,the article i just read is simply utter rubbish about Jamaica and whats occuring in other english speaking islands.As a former businessman who backed all the political parties in both Jamaica & Grenada where i once lived, met all the leaders,dons etc i think i am more qualified to even write books of my experiences and give an objective analysis of what when on in the above, countries .Seeing the start of the gunmen from both sides in the 1970’S, i.e. curly locks,copper barth”,bucky boy”MARSHALL,claudius”claudie” MASSOP to name but a few,and MARLEY bringing the 3M’s together in London when he fled Jamaica is too numerous to go into,i am seriously thinking, even though i am in my 50’s, of becoming a Professor,no dis.to the present one who doesnt has an inkling


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