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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05KINGSTON1342
2005-05-25 20:51:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kingston
Cable title:  

DIRECTOR FOR CARIBBEAN AFFAIRS MEETS WITH JLP

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KCRM  JM 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KINGSTON 001342 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR (BNICHOLS), (BENT)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2014
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCRM JM
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR FOR CARIBBEAN AFFAIRS MEETS WITH JLP
DEPUTY LEADER

REF: KINGSTON 01258

Classified By: CDA Ronald Robinson for Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

-------
Summary
-------
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KINGSTON 001342

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR (BNICHOLS), (BENT)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2014
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCRM JM
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR FOR CARIBBEAN AFFAIRS MEETS WITH JLP
DEPUTY LEADER

REF: KINGSTON 01258

Classified By: CDA Ronald Robinson for Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

--------------
Summary
--------------

1. (U) Visiting WHA/CAR Office Director Brian Nichols,
accompanied by poloff, met on May 10 with James Robertson,
Deputy Leader of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) and Member of
Parliament for Western St. Thomas. Robertson offered his
views on the recent spate of police killings in Kingston, JLP
leader Bruce Golding's first month as Leader of the
Opposition, and the party's priorities for Jamaica's future.
End Summary.

--------------
Violence in West Kingston
--------------


2. (C) On May 10, visiting WHA/CAR Office Director Brian
Nichols, accompanied by poloff, met with James Robertson,
Deputy Leader of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) and Member of
Parliament for Western St. Thomas. Addressing the May 3 and
4 murders of three police officers and a private security
guard in Kingston (reftel), Robertson characterized the
killings as stand-alone "acts of terrorism" perpetrated by an
independent group of disaffected young men. Robertson
described the gunmen as "pot smoking" and "bible thumping,"
adding that two of the killers, who were shot to death by
police shortly after murdering the policeman, both had their
heads wrapped in the style of some Rastafarians.


3. (C) Responding to the suggestion that the killings might
have been politically motivated and linked to the JLP's
fiercely loyal West Kingston constituency because one of the
dead gunmen was identified as the brother of JLP-linked West
Kingston gang leader Christopher "Dudus" Coke, Robertson
denied any connection to the usual retributive gang violence
that is common in inner city neighborhoods. Supporting his
theory that the murders were not sanctioned by organized
criminals in West Kingston, he drew an analogy to the
Columbine High School killings in Colorado, asserting that
acts of violence can be planned and perpetrated without the
knowledge or complicity of their families or communities.



4. (C) To further support his claim, Robertson related a
telephone call he received from the brother of the owner of
Marksman Security, the private security company that employed
the guard who shot and killed Christopher Coke's brother.
The caller was concerned about rumors that, as the brother of
the company's owner, he would be killed to avenge the death
of Coke's brother. After "making a few calls," Robertson
assured the caller that no gangs were seeking to kill him out
of retribution. Instead, he said that the gangs intended to
"deal with" the unruly assailants themselves. (Note:
Unbeknownst to Robertson, shortly after the killings, Charge
received an urgent call from the Mexican DCM, who told him
that the Jamaican owner of Marksman Security, fearing for his
family's safety in the aftermath of the shootings, had
requested a Mexican passport for his infant child (whose
mother is a Mexican citizen) because he intended to take his
family to the U.S. until the local situation settled down.
Mexican DCM asked whether Embassy Kingston would then
facilitate an urgent NIV issuance for the child so that the
family could depart. Post accommodated the request. End
Note.)

--------------
Golding's First Month as Leader
--------------


5. (C) Asked whether the newly installed Leader of the
Opposition Bruce Golding would be able to control the
violence in his West Kingston constituency, which some
observers assert is intended to test Golding's resolve,
Robertson expressed confidence that he would. He disagreed,
however, with Golding's recent public comments criticizing
the police for unfairly stigmatizing his constituency.
(Note: On May 8, Golding accused the JCF Deputy Commissioner
for Crime, a senior British policeman on secondment to the
JCF, of wrongly stigmatizing West Kingston in the matter.
Golding was publicly criticized by the People's National
Party (PNP) and news media for his comments. End Note.)
Robertson speculated that Golding was caught up in the moment
when he defended his constituents by criticizing the police
force. He expressed regret at his party leader's handling of
the situation, saying that Golding could have pandered to his
constituents in private, without making controversial remarks
to the media.

6. (C) Golding was positive on Golding's performance in his
first month as JLP leader. He offered that, once the party
recovers from Golding's recent damaging comments, Golding
would continue to wage a strong campaign for the prime
ministership. Robertson opined that Minister of National
Security Peter Phillips is the PNP's only serious contender
to succeed P.J. Patterson, because he is the only one with
the "strength" to win. He added that Golding continues to
distance himself from Robertson and other "Young Turks"
within the party who helped to orchestrate Golding's rise to
power. Robertson explained that many of Golding's advisors
fear him (Robertson) and his "reformist" colleagues because
of the political power they wield (Note: Robertson and the
group of "Young Turks" are credited with being largely
responsible for Seaga's ouster. End Note.). Robertson
further explained that he is feared by some for his suspected
ties to illegal activities, including drug trafficking.
--------------
JLP Vision for the Future
--------------


7. (C) Asked to define his party's vision for the future of
Jamaica, Robertson focused heavily on small-scale economic
development and the creation of job opportunities for
Jamaicans. He said that, although Jamaica continues to
attract large-scale development projects like hotels, none of
them benefit the "small man," or common Jamaican. Robertson
cited the lack of activity in the country's secondary
mortgage market as evidence of a widespread reluctance to
invest domestically. He stressed that only development at
the community level will benefit all Jamaicans, and that the
JLP would work toward that goal. Without more employment
options, he continued, Jamaican graduates of local and
foreign universities would continue to seek employment
abroad. As an example, Robertson estimated that one half of
his prep school class now lives outside of Jamaica. He added
that his party is ready to take over the government and begin
making the right decisions to benefit the country. He
warned, however, that "you can't make the right decisions in
Jamaica and stay in power."

--------------
Comment
--------------


8. (C) As in previous meetings, Robertson repeatedly
mentioned that he has been branded with the suspicion of
being involved in illicit activities. (He is partially
correct; "strong suspicion" might be a more accurate
assessment.) In truth, like many Jamaican politicians of
whatever party affiliation, Robertson is known to associate
with criminal elements. The fact that both he and a fellow
"Young Turk" JLP Deputy Leader, Horace Chang, carry the
strong whiff of impropriety, probably has much to do with
Golding's post-victory policy of keeping them at arms length.
Also, Robertson and Chang earned the enduring wrath of
former Opposition Leader and Prime Minister Edward Seaga in
their ruthless but effective campaign to unseat him, and
Golding, who needs to reach out to the still-influential
Seaga and his supporters to consolidate his own leadership of
the JLP, cannot afford too close an association with
"friends" like Robertson and Chang who carry so much baggage.
Interestingly, neither Robertson nor his reformist
colleagues within the JLP have publicly objected to having
been sidelined within the party by Golding in recent weeks.


9. (C) Comment (cont'd): Robertson insisted that his
underworld/garrison sources were unaware that the police
killings would take place and were displeased with what
transpired. While his assertions track with some reports
that West Kingston gang leaders are at odds over the murders
of police, Robertson's claims seem an attempt to deflect
criticism and stigmatization that is often directed toward
West Kingston and its notorious, politically affiliated
criminals. End Comment.


9. (U) This cable has been cleared by WHA/CAR Director Brian
Nichols.
ROBINSON