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  Tension in Tivoli.....

Dated: 19/05/10

Several entrances to Tivoli Gardens, the reported home base of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke were blocked with debris yesterday as persons prepared for what many feared would be an attempt by the security forces to remove the man they call 'President' or 'Shortman'. Along Pechon Street, Spanish Town Road and Industrial Terrace, the barricades were unmanned, but the young men standing nearby appeared to be doing more than just 'lyming'. In nearby Denham Town, several roads were also blocked, although the main road (North Street) remained clear. "It is just that our history has taught us that the state don't rate people in Tivoli and Denham Town, so anything can happen, and we have to protect wi self," one resident said as he sought to explain the blockades. That echoed the sentiments of attorney-at-law and government Senator Tom Tavares-Finson who represented Coke up to yesterday. On Monday, minutes after the prime minister confirmed that the Government had decided to sign the extradition request from the United States, Tavares-Finson urged the security forces not to use the extradition matter to create mayhem in Tivoli Gardens. "Don't use it to murder innocent people in west Kingston. Don't do it; it will not put us anywhere," said Tavares-Finson, who was among those shortlisted to represent the west Kingston constituency after former Prime Minister Edward Seaga called it a day. Tavares-Finson pointed to the 2001 reported shoot-out in the area which left 27 persons dead, as he indicated that his client, Coke, was prepared to fight the extradition request in court. Almost business as usual Meanwhile, it was nearly business as usual in downtown Kingston yesterday. After the panic on Monday when reports spread of possible mayhem because of the Govern-ment's decision to sign the extradition request for Coke, persons were slow to return to the popular shopping area, although vendors were waiting on them yesterday. However, by mid-morning when it became clear that radio reports of marauding gunmen and several blocked roads were exaggerated, business operators opened their doors, and shoppers looking for bargains hit the roads. But the number of shoppers was far less than the typical Tuesday in downtown Kingston, and it was clear that business operators and streetside vendors were on the ready to pack up and rush out at the first sign of trouble. "Me a watch what a gwaan because anything can happen," one vendor told The Gleaner as he sought buyers for yams and other ground produce. "The store is open but my staff is on edge and the number of persons passing through the door is far less than I expected, but I plan to stay open as long as possible," said one business operator, as a police team passed outside the entrance of his store on Orange Street.