The reversal by Prime Minister Bruce Golding came after mounting public discontent over his opposition to sending Christopher "Dudus" Coke to the U.S., a stand that raised questions about the reputed drug kingpin's ties to the governing party.
The move also set up the challenge of arresting Coke, who allegedly controls a band of gunmen in the capital's barricaded Tivoli Gardens area. The U.S. Justice Department lists Coke as one of the world's most dangerous drug lords.
As rumors of the government's decision spread before the official announcement, the streets of downtown Kingston emptied as businesses and government agencies closed early out of fear of violence.
But Coke's lawyer, Tom Tavares-Finson, said there would be no violence on his client's insistence. He said Coke was prepared to fight extradition in court.
"For eight months the attorney general took a position based that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed. We're putting together a legal team to approach the courts as soon as possible," Tavares-Finson said.
Golding did not indicate how long it would take before security forces moved on Coke.
Coke has ties of loyalty to the Jamaica Labor Party and holds significant sway over the west Kingston area represented in parliament by Golding, who stonewalled the extradition request for months with claims that the U.S. indictment relied on illegal wiretap evidence.
In a nationally televised address Monday night, Golding said his party had become improperly involved in the dispute and expressed remorse for his handling of the case.
"This matter of the extradition has consumed too much of our energies and attention and has led to a virtual paralysis that must be broken," he said. "The minister of justice, in consideration of all the factors, will sign the authorization for the extradition process to commence."
The prime minister's handling of the case, in particular his authorization of a U.S. firm to lobby Washington to drop the request, provoked an outcry that threatened his political career
. With opposition parties and public sector groups calling for his resignation, the governing party vouched for him following a high-level conference over the weekend.
Golding's opposition to the extradition strained relations with the United States, which questioned the Caribbean island's reliability as an ally in the fight against trafficking in a State Department report earlier this year.
Coke represents a Jamaican tradition of "community dons" with ties to political parties that dates back to the 1970s, when political factions provided arms to gangs that helped rally votes during elections.
Coke's father was Lester Lloyd Coke, better known as Jim Brown, a leader of the Shower Posse during the 1980s cocaine wars. U.S. prosecutors say Christopher Coke took over the organization after his father died in a 1991 prison fire while awaiting extradition to the United States.
Under the younger Coke's direction, Shower Posse members have sold marijuana and crack cocaine
in the New York area and elsewhere and funneled profits back to him, 카지노 룰렛 전략
U.S. authorities allege. He faces life in prison if convicted on charges filed against him in New York.