Pubdate: Tue, 25 May 2010
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2010 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,


CRIMINAL gangs aligned to the Opposition People's National Party 
(PNP) in the Maxfield Avenue area of Whitfield Town are being paid up 
to $100,000 per day to join in the mounting unrest in the Corporate 
Area sparked by resistance to the security forces' attempt to arrest 
Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

According to men claiming to be members of the gangs, they are being 
paid by Coke, who is currently battling, in the Supreme Court, his 
pending extradition to the United States on drug- and gun-running charges.

Sections of the West Kingston area of the Jamaican capital have been 
plunged into unrest since last week Tuesday after it was announced 
that a warrant had been issued for Coke's arrest.

Barricades were immediately mounted around Coke's stronghold of 
Tivoli Gardens, followed later by a mass demonstration, by mostly 
female residents, appealing for the security forces to "leave Dudus alone".

Police officers with expertise on gang operations told the Observer 
in March, two months before the current violence erupted, that thugs 
aligned to the PNP would join forces with the Tivoli hoodlums, who 
are affiliated with the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, should an 
attempt be made to take Coke into custody.

Signs of that cross-party alliance emerged on Sunday when gunmen from 
the Jones Town area, close to Maxfield Avenue, blocked a section of 
Spanish Town Road in the vicinity of the St Andrew Technical High 
School, as the security forces surrounded Tivoli Gardens before 
launching their offensive to capture Coke.

Yesterday, as that operation was in full swing, heavily armed men 
were busy blocking sections of Maxfield Avenue, from Wellington Road. 
Heavy gunfire was reported in the vicinity of Fitzgerald Avenue and 
the lower section of Maxfield Avenue where a woman was shot and injured.

A house was reportedly torched along Whitfield Avenue.

"A whole heap a gunshot a fire down Whitfield Avenue," a resident 
told the Observer yesterday.

Residents have also reported that the heavily armed men are making no 
effort to conceal their weapons, as they walk around in broad 
daylight, ready to unleash mayhem, despite the imposition of a 
limited State of Emergency.
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