Jamaica. According to COUNTRYAAH, Jamaica has a population of 2.935 million (2018). Violent clashes broke out in Kingston in May between security forces and supporters of drug king Christopher “Dudus” Coke. Over 70 people were killed during four days of fighting, including three soldiers. The violence erupted since the authorities issued an arrest warrant against Coke, which the United States had requested extradition in August 2009. According to the authorities, Coke was the leader of gangs that engaged in drug and arms smuggling and committed a large number of murders in the United States and Jamaica. However, many residents of Kingston, and especially in the Tivoli Gardens district, regarded Coke as a benefactor to the area’s poor. Coke was also considered to have strong ties to politicians, not least to the JPL (Jamaica Labor Party) and Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
A state of emergency was introduced in parts of Kingston and the concern was great that the important tourism industry would suffer. The opposition brought a distrust vote against the prime minister for the government’s way of handling the unrest. Golding managed by a slight margin.
In late June, one month after the outbreak of violence, Coke was arrested at a roadblock. He was soon extradited to the United States, where he risks life imprisonment.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a loan of nearly US $ 1.3 billion over two years to help Jamaica reduce its sovereign debt and accelerate growth following the global financial crisis. In the second half of the year, the tourism industry showed a strong upswing.