Jamaica postpones local elections

June 16, 2010, midnight

Jamaica's Parliament has postponed local elections in the capital city region until March 2011 or later, citing a state of emergency among other reasons. Prime Minister Bruce GOLDING declared martial law in Greater Kingston on May 23 after gunmen barricaded the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood, engaging police in a gun battle. The gunmen are allegedly aligned with Christopher "Dudus" COKE, an alleged drug kingpin wanted by the US government. An extradition agreement in late May precipitated the violence, and the US State Department has advised tourists to reconsider visiting Kingston. Opposition politicians said GOLDING acted on "flimsy reasons" and criticized what they call a practice of postponing local elections. The move has prompted calls for fixing local election dates in Jamaica's constitution.

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