Features

Jamaica-Land of beauty, beaches & bullets

Written by Ray Damdar

-Soon to be dubbed ‘ the Baghdad of the Caribbean-

Jamaican police shot dead 113 people last year, down from 133 the previous year. But Jamaica only has a population of 2.6 million, compared with eight million in New York City, which had around 25 fatal police shootings last year.

A have a new marketing slogan fi Sandals Resort ‘Come visit Jamaica, One Love, Irie, 5 murders per day’. In fact a tink dat de Jumaican tourist board should mek a new T-shirt fi de locals dem dat sey ‘Jamaica, nuff problem mon’. The story outside de gates of Sandals and and odda superclub resorts is not de same as inside dese paradise villas. Instead of white sandy beaches, free drinks and local tour-guides wid de worse twang; locals in JA cyan look forward to dodging bullets fram gunmen and getting caught in stray fire between dem de police. (a wonda if wi coulda mek crafts outa bullet shells and sell to de tourist dem cause dem luv anyting dat de Rasta mek??)

Amnesty International acknowledges the difficulties and dangers faced by those responsible for the policing of areas controlled by armed individuals. However, the organization believes that – even under these lethal conditions – the police and army must operate under the codes of conduct governing law enforcement agencies, which stipulate that officers must deploy only the minimum amount of force necessary to protect themselves and those around them.

Yuh memba when de infamous Natty Morgan was eventually caught (mi a use de word caught very loosely). Dere were about 150 bullet holes in im cyar. I don’t think dat a 150 bullet holes is considered ‘minimum amount of force necessary’ by de police. De police have a history of wild fire, dem just shoot first and ask questions lata. Tell me in which court cyan you put a dead man pon trial?? Yes Mr. Amnesty we DO have a problem in Jamaica because gun is more frequent dan cell phone. Mi a wonda how so such a small island ave so much gun anyway?? Afta wi don’t ave no gun factories pan di island.

“Human rights abuses committed by the security forces can only cause the situation to deteriorate and will undermine confidence in their ability to maintain peace and order and to protect the population,” Amnesty International said.

Jamaica’s biggest legal export is tourism and if wi continue to carry on dis way nobady is going to want to visit Jamaica. Can yuh himagine di poor tourist dem coming out of Dunn’s Riva Falls and as soon as dem hit de road dem buck up inna shoot out between de police and gunmen. Coppa start bus and all de tourist inna dem braids wid beads as de ends, tie-die T-shirts and plastics wata shoes start to suck di floor. If wi nuh careful dis is what will end up happening. Also, a jus ave to ask de tourist dem somting. Why yuh tink dat forming a big line and holding hand wid one a nedda is a safe way fi climb de falls? Don’t yuh tink dat if one smady fall dong den de whole a unna going sample de wata to.

Last year the Jamaican Government invited detectives from London’s New Scotland Yard to the island to look into the deaths of around 30 suspected drug dealers. Earlier this year the Scotland Yard team concluded many had been the victims of a “shoot-to-kill” policy.

A wonda what Scotland Yard thought when dem see Reneto Adam’s file. Dem musi tink dat we don’t have a court system dats why wi just shoot de criminals. At least de Government don’t have to worry about funding de prisons because de police jus a shot dem down. Mi know sey de police ave a hard time wid de tief dem but de police cyannot expect to be a constable, JDF, lawyer, judge and receive bribes effectively all at de same time.

De last ting wi need is to be labeled as a vigilante nation amongst everyting else. Wi get enough bad press as it is. Mi a watch di news wha day and ear bout some likkle ute wey born inna JA, go pan a banana boat and move to Hengland when im was 5mths old and now recently bomb up de subway in London. I wouldn’t be surprised if Scotland Yard tek a nedda trip to Jamaica fi look fi Al Quaeda jus cause im born a yard even dou wi ave notting fi do wid im. I cyan see Scotland Yard stopping de Rasta selling sugar cane on de side of de road and asking ‘ Have you seen Al Quaeda?’. De Ras sey ‘ Yes my Lawd, we ave nuff Aligeta bout de place’.

“In that context there are going to be occasional errors in judgement but it’s disingenuous to disregard the envirionment that we are operating in.”- Charles Scarlett Assistant commissioner of police

A don’t tink dat 113 people shot dead is an hocassional error. Misjudgement Missa Charlie is when yuh fling stone afta mango; miss and lick de neighba dawg. Is when yuh a play football and yuh miss de goal and clatt a man in im balls. Is not when yuh shoot 113 people dead.

“The culture of blame currently prevailing in Jamaica will not bring an end to the violence and human rights abuses we witness today, which are taking place in a highly politicised atmosphere. We believe that dialogue between the political parties is necessary to see calm restored and human rights protected,” Amnesty International said

So wait, who wi pos to blame, de bullets dem!! Gun nuh kill people, people kill people. Weda is de PNP (Pick Nuff Pocket) or de JLP (Jus Love Politricking), dey need to monita de police force like how stray mongrel dawg dig up in people garbage to mek sure dat der police is gwan like some wildas (shot a fire wid out cause) or anti-climax (bodies taken to the mortuary instead of court).

About the Author

Ray Damdar is a Jamaican living abroad in Hartford, CT amongst the third largest Jamaican population in Merica. He is constantly amused by his culture has no odda choice but to comment.

Favorite saying “ If yuh live inna glass house den don’t throw stones!!”

Article Excerpts taken from website ‘http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3674251.stm Jamaica wrestles with police violence’ and ‘http://amnesty.org.uk/deliver/document/13502.htmlJamaica: the culture of violence must stop”.

Commentary courtesy of Guinep Tree Productions.

About the author

Ray Damdar