Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Does Overseas Aid Affects The Extradition Policy Of Jamaica?

One of the effects of continuous aid and charity is that it subconsciously makes the recipient feel he owes the donor a favour and makes him hesitate to challenge the actions and statements of this donor with whom he disagrees. This line of reasoning is not debatable and their are numerous examples in business and personal relationships. Relationships too can be considered a form of aid, especially when the benefits flow in one direction, and this is even seen in cases where relatives are much softer on each other when they violate accepted rules, than they are on strangers. Examples of how aid affects nations abound worldwide as in cases when the USA and China pressure small states to vote on their side at the UN or when the Communist countries which used to vote as a bloc regardless of the topic, take the same side against the USA. Cuba is a perfect example of this.

Solomon, the great wise man of Israel, said, “He that covereth sins seeketh love.” There is a tremendous principle here which is universal. Build strong relationships with all you interact with because if you offend them you will be treated at the same level as the strength of that relationship. Charity receipts undermine this type of relationship.

Charity weakens the negotiating power and aggressiveness of the recipients. This has a direct effect on the Jamaican judiciary. When the United States makes extradition requests on Jamaica, our judges, whether they admit it or not, are both consciously and subconsciously affected by knowing that Jamaica is a large recipient of US aid, which has in the past been cut because Jamaica refused to submit to certain requests from Washington. The rulings on extradition requests from the US over the years have most certainly been affected in this manner.

The overall premise here is strengthened when the results of extradition requests to the US by smaller, less powerful countries, are examined. The Italian judiciary recently submitted requests for the extradition of several FBI agents who kidnapped someone from Italy. There is no way that this request will be granted, was the opinion in a newspaper recently. The Indonesian government wants to try Hambali, an al-Qaeda lieutenant who was captured by the CIA, for crimes committed in Indonesia. The US government will not even let them speak to him much less extradite him to Indonesia. These are not isolated incidents but is a pattern that has been displayed by the US for years. Pat Robertson could perhaps be tried under some law in Venezuela for suggesting that Chavez be killed but the US would never extradite him! Several Russian businessmen are living in Houston while the Russian government is interested in putting them on trial for tax evasion. And of course there is the longstanding situation with Emanuel Constant of Haiti who has been living in New York for years while the Haitian government under Aristide tried to have him extradited for numerous murders.

I have no idea if the Jamaican constitution or legal body of knowledge allows for parallel retaliatory rulings against a foreign government, which makes requests that the foreign government itself does not fulfil when the same requests are made on it, but there should indeed be such a clause. And even if there is not such a clause, how do our judges and chief justice explain their actions in rushing to send Jamaicans overseas to a justice system that has been shown to be biased against people of colour, in light of this stance by the US? Chief Justice, is this a case of “Wolf, wolf”, or “Sheep, sheep”?

John Anthony
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John Anthony