Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Kingston Red Hot – Part 2

No other democratic country on the face of the planet slaughters as many human beings per year comparable to this youthful country of untold achievements. With a record number of murders in 1997 and 2001 accumulating to well over 1000 deaths, an average of just under 5 per 100,000. Jamaica and Kingston in particular, has been placed on the world’s list of communities that are racing towards dangerous social anarchy. Averaging 3 deaths per day in 2002, the mayhem, if unchecked will continue to ride the passion of gunrunning, domestic homicide, drug trafficking and criminal violence, while further rifling terrorism plots and a cult which may be too difficult for local law enforcement to curtail.

Indeed, it’s the grass roots resistant man and woman, the yardie, posse, crews and gangs of thugged out guys and gals that are most vulnerable and yet most engrossed in this battle of garrisons and dons, keeping the flame rife and burning down fields of lanes and gullies through heated tensions.

In effect, a popularizing of the hopelessly complex, localized terrorist has inherently brought about a false ideology which is teaching nationals to defend and protect their own while boxing the bread out of their own brother’s mouth, in offensive aggression.

Raw and ugly is the stench that it has traversed so far, that family feuds are being fought via unexpected reprisals. In all of this, no professional news leader with the clout of a world service or the news talent of a multi-racial generation has been brave enough to truly segment and forensically study this tyrannical urban deadlock.

Babies being killed and their guts cleaned and repackaged with the dust of death, as woman in hand transport dope to foreign lands. Teen after teen being caught in droves with stomachs laced in the filth of swallowed condom cocaine filled tablets. Snazzy hi-tech guns and ammunition that is bought and exported from US shores, sealed and niftily hidden in electronic appliances to outflank customs. This leaves Jamaicans stuck in a fools-ghetto paradise, celebrating criminal achievements “yeah mon, yardie can beat the system”. Hacking our way through lock & keys and security screening at tightened borders to destroy and conquer our Babylonian opponents, “dutty shotta police boy”.

Babylon in our homeland is usually represented by the police, army, politician, business class and any rival ground force which is sympathetic to an opposing political camp.

In December 2001, an Air Jamaica flight en-route to London Gatwick, arrives with 1 in every 3 Jamaican nationals on-board being officially labelled drug mules by British Crime Squad and Scotland Yard officials. Several days later, scores more caught before a jet leaves Kingston, another 14 make it to the other side but are caught as British police followed tips that the continental flight was loaded.

On January 8, 2003, the British Government imposed new travel procedures for Jamaicans, limiting the entry on local nationals by the use of visa applications, in a move which has been spoken about for months and which precipitated after an ugly Jan. 2 shooting, carried out by Jamaican gang members. Supported by gun-crime statistics from Britain’s inner cities the UK, made the claim that it had no further recourse, as drug gangs, particularly Jamaican dealers, are dangerously protecting their loot with weapons ranging from replica pistols and modified air guns to lethal uzi submachine guns. Guns that are smuggled in from the Balkans are easily bought or rented, as home grown Jamaican top killers or “shottas,” are destabilizing England, carrying out assassinations.

It took the explosive dogged trappings of experienced notorious gangs and the lucrative return of the cocaine trade to develop a compromising interconnection between the North American-European based Jamaican Mafia called “posse’s” in the 1980’s. The Spanish speaking drug Cartels in the Latin American corridor, Columbian Kingpins of the drug trade, shifted their networks, focusing on the rise in air and ship links from Jamaica to the United States and Europe. These, the mega metropolis cities of the largest drug consumption markets in the world, sit north of the Caribbean.

Jamaica with it’s fast, convenient shipping lanes and roaming surface schedule, including a hub and spoke airline system for its growing national carrier, has been the key within the last decade. This has proven overwhelmingly attractive to the Columbians, forcing the cementing of trade alliances between the senior illicit trading partners.

The information age and the mighty leaps of technology to improve communication, added much rum addiction to what is now a wicked curse, that is killing a once progressive people. For most of the 90’s into the year 2002, daily, the Norman Manley and Sangster International airports were saturated with youths in their teens, young blood and some mature young women, mothers and grandmothers, trying to earn quick cash to expel amongst their families.

There are many who say that the deepening urban community conflict, high unemployment due to the death of the free zone and rising crime on the streets, would have caused any nation of so many young optimistic kids and hungry pensioned grandmothers to plunge deeply and dangerously into the deadly and menacing drug underworld.

It’s globalization in it’s most acrid and exploitative way yet. The hiked transport routes and official trading regulations, “liberalization” that exploded, was implemented to bring billions in legitimate investments. In lieu the globalist tricked us a naïve country. For again we have been thwarted, twisting the minds of the innocent, whom they know would perform the dangerous leg work. Desperately skipping emergency patrols and security officers at national borders, the Jamaican was enrolled to do the outrageous. Skillfully hiding cocaine and ganja in the walls of their body cavities, the suffering yard women would disgrace her body while men were stuffing their stomach with pellets of taped scoops, swallowed. The ladies were risking their lives carrying drugs in their womb, all for a promissory note for a couple of hundred pounds or US dollars.

Crazy some say, yet so many middle income professionals, from lawyers to flight attendants have been caught with the green, the white stuff, the liquid stuff and the hardened stuff. It’s become a national obsession including sporting stars, popular entertainers and big-wigs on different sides of the trade. For once it was only trading but now many are sniffing and puffing the illegal stuff, becoming cokeheads and holding villages and towns of once marooned areas for ransom.

It’s getting to be a high stakes game, since the new decade of the 00’s began. Celebrated Jamaican footballers have been caught packaging for export ahead of boarding a flight out of Kingston. Jailed senior partners have had their day in the headlines, in conspiracy for nabbing his company finances. Past reports of a Jamaican Diplomatic Ambassadors’ son, TV personality and international journalist murdered while trying to hustle through the night to maintain his habit.

We have teenaged students masquerading on Kingston campuses, smoking spliff while threatening teachers with guns. The Rude Boy culture has reached it’s point of spin offs as the “shotta” mentality is heating up, there is now a different status that is being handed to those involved and the riot being undertaken by the underworld through the minds of the youth is riding to unbearable levels. Guys who can hardly read much less write, wasting away lives, remaking Kingston, once the gem and heartbeat of the Caribbean into a den of thieves and social fringe criminals.

The Rude Boy culture is past mad, pumping bullets into dogs, cats and children, threatening outspoken community activists. A sort of guerrilla urban conflict is starting to flex it Kingston, Jamaica style.

2002’s New Year burst on the scene with sporadic homicides, as Ford F150 truck transport convoys of men dressed in black to shoot up anything in site, pumping bullets into dogs, children woman and man alike. Next couple of day’s, British based yardie gang members killed while stopping to meet reader woman. Kingston is so hot, we see gangs being cocky and barefaced, outlaying threats to the public while being videotaped. Men being featured on the police most wanted list, but allowed to walk the streets. The criminal powerbase seems untouched as the nation awakes to daily scorchers, the killings of TV personality and magician Safa. The death of on duty and off duty police officers, busmen and Observer reporter, on a bus, who gunmen thought was undercover police. Priest and Evangelist’s are being extorted even killed, which makes for a burning point never seen before.

The pleas for peace and love pitched loud for some time, still the crime and violence dominates Kingston daily news. The run up to the October 2002 elections saw increased patrols and every amount of air and ground security, but the “shottas” remained vengeful, racking up 50 deaths in two weeks, with police Crime Management Unit trying to distort the figures and lay claims to the fact that the killings were not politically motivated but directed by a faceless set of undesirables.

The theories offered by the crime management team in 2002 have been one of flipping the statistics; applying bandaid PR along with the Governments Minister of Security, Peter Phillips. By early 2003, he was being elevated for allowing the crime to fall by 7%. The Minister has been playing dandy shandy and citing very well, travelling to London and batting well in front of the British press. Hoping to reduce the nation’s paranoia while giving the world the perspective that Government has crime under control. Phillips has redefined criminality, gunmen, placing the blame on the blood thirsty mood of gangs and domestic families in crisis.

John Public listens to his dribble and contends with the fact that the numbers are rising and the categories are increasing, even as they try to segment and spin the figures. For Phillips, one may say, has failed in dealing with the roots of politically related murders, community related murders, domestic related murders. He speaks while most businessmen pay extortion ransom and it continues to screw up business development. With all the bandaid and wrappings, the sore is getting bigger and it’s starting to plague everybody.

Just check the cynicism, recently an expatriate business hero returned to buy the largest Commercial Bank in the yard and speculation reigned as to where and how he got his loot. Not strange by Jamaican standards because many a wild shooting and reprisal in the allies we are told, are often times the result of orders sent down by business men who are not just watchers of social life like you and I but are deeply entrenched in the illegal drug trade. They, the masterminds, find ways to launder the cash and make all seem above board.

Thanks again for sharing in Kingston Red Hot, Part 2. We hope that our reflections and concern as citizens of a nation in distress was of interest to you. The Good Morning Revolution Team continues it’s work at filing reports toward solutions. Your e-mails in response to our showcases are appreciated at: [email protected]

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About the author

Phil Dinham