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National Security Minister, Senator Hon. Dwight Nelson, said today (February 23) that the governments of Jamaica and the United States continue to enjoy a relationship of co-operation as it relates to fighting narco-trafficking.

He said it was only recently that the two countries signed a new security agreement called the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which addresses that and other issues.

Mr. Nelson was continuing his testimony before the Commission of Enquiry into the handling of the extradition request for Christopher "Dudus" Coke at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

The National Security Minister, under cross examination from People's National Party (PNP) Attorney, K.D. Knight, stated that the extradition of Mr. Coke, provided the opportunity for a "rebirth" for the community and citizens of West Kingston.

"The residents of the constituency found a basis for the search towards securing employment, and securing the kind of community development, the kind of provisions of social interventions, which all took place subsequent to the extradition," he stated.

Mr. Knight then asked whether the Minister believed that Mr. Coke had prevented all this from happening in West Kingston.

"No, I'm not saying that," Mr. Nelson responded. "I am saying that the fact of the extradition would have provided the (opportunity for the) authorities to intervene in the area to provide the platform for upliftment, for improvement in their (citizens) lives."

He said that such interventions were not new to West Kingston but had been taking place on a much smaller scale prior to the extradition of Mr. Coke.

"The fact is that the events which occurred… provided an opportunity for the authorities to create a renaissance, a rebirth of the lives of the citizens of the geographical area," Senator Nelson stated.

"And, certainly, as Minister of National Security, I am most aware of this because there are agencies in my Ministry that cater to social intervention programmes that acted subsequent to the event to provide that level of relief and fulfillment to the people," he continued.

He noted that the destruction of people's lives could never be a good thing, but that in "adversity there are opportunities".

Minister Nelson again denied that he told former Commissioner of Police, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin that the extradition of Mr. Coke could "bring down" the government of Jamaica. He also stated that the extortion "would not have affected the party in a negative way."

Minister Nelson is expected to return to the witness chair tomorrow (February 24) when he will  be further cross examined by Attorney, Patrick Atkinson, who is representing former Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips.

CONTACT: ATHALIAH REYNOLDS