Hijack on the Tarmac?-Jamaica’s First Brush with an International Crisis-Video

By now we have all been fully saturated by all the reports in the media about the “hijacking” of the Canadian airline Canjet flight 918 at the Sangsters International airport en-route to Cuba by 21 year old Montegonian Stephen Fray.

CanJet plane @ MBJ-The airport is owned & operated by a Canadian company

CanJet plane @ MBJ-The airport is owned & operated by a Canadian company

Of course the high drama dominated the media landscape and sent tongues of ordinary Jamaicans waging, many of who thought this could never happen in our country. The video below is from the news cast on Television Jamaica on the day the whole ordeal ended.

As you can see in the report Stephen Harper Canadian Prime Minister was on a 3 day working visit to Jamaica and of course all 187 passengers and crew on the flight were Canadian, right after the summit of the Americas, in the same week Cuba was in the spotlight as relationship with the United States became a little more cordial.

Buk up!?-Coincidence?-Is it even possible that Stephen Fray the 21 year old Montegonian who orchestrated this who episode planned it this way?

PM Harper

Both PMs @ MBJ after the ordeal.

Of course there was coverage in the international media CNN, BBC,CBC, Fox news even as far as Europe and South Africa; it was “breaking news” all over. Below are a few of the reports on television overseas. Below are snippets of what was shown on CNN and the Fox news. There were also live reports on the Fox Report with Shepard Smith, a very high rated newscast in the States.

As you saw in the CNN report they told viewers that one member of the crew was shot dead-Either a blatant lie or miscommunication. Other wise the reports where “fair and balance”?

I find excerpt from fellow bloggers at Barbados Free Press particularly interesting, I am a little disappointed too. I sense the author is celebrating our international day of shame and using it as an opportunity to lure visitors away from Jamaica.

While the truth is, the situation could probably have happened just about anywhere — it didn’t. It happened in Jamaica, a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world and a gun culture that is even reflected in popular music. If any of our Canadian readers are thinking of a vacation in Jamaica, may we suggest you reconsider that Barbados is a much friendlier and safer vacation place.

From: Barbados Free Press-Gunman Holds Hostages On Canadian Airliner In Jamaica

I remember just a couple weeks or a month or so ago a Canadian tourists was viciously beaten to death and robbed on the beach in Barbados. I don’t remember any media or blog in Jamaica taking this tone.

The question on many peoples mind is the implication all this will have on Jamaica. The obvious comes to mind that security at our two major airports will become even more stringent. Jamaicans who are already profiled at many international airports as carriers of drugs might get drawn into the terrorist/hijacker profile and of course the negative publicity on the island’s image as it relates to tourism. Already Tourism interests are running around making a lot of noise about the impeding “fallout”. Personally I don’t think there will be any major fallout. I think it is great idea for Sandals to have offered all passengers and crew a free all expenses paid, all inclusive vacation at any Sandals resort-A great move by that hotel.

Clovis takes a jab and the security at the Sangsters International airport, this is hilarious.

From the Jamaica Observer

From the Jamaica Observer Poking fun @ MBJ's security

Obviously the security is lacking at the Sangsters International airport, if there was not a single armed personnel to challenge Fray when he brandished a gun and passed the metal detectors or even alert the aircrafts and the whole airport, then something is wrong. What if there was more than one hijacker with a clear objective to hurt people, this is very serious especially in a post 9-11. It would appear MBJ would be a terrorist dream so called soft target. I can assure you some idiot will try this again and they better be ready and on the ball.

It is no secret that Jamaica/Caribbean airports are way more relaxed than a JFK or Fort Lauderdale. I am not surprised he could barge through and run to board a plane.

The United States and Canada are more 9-11 sensitive than the Caribbean while their main paradigm is terrorism our main concern is narcotics.

So who is Stephen Fray?, the Jamaica Gleaner did a nice little write up about Fray. From my observation this is just a youth who has just completely thrown this life away. It is always a tragedy to see this.



There have been so many speculations as to why he did what he did.

  1. Girlfriend trouble
  2. Money issues
  3. Troubled childhood
  4. Trying to get attention
  5. Mental issues
  6. Just plain stupid
  7. Acting out a fancy
  8. Wanting to impress his girlfriend

Apparently Fray had two profiles online Facebook and Hi5. The Facebook profile was hastily taken down by the Facebook people because of all the obvious connotations towards guns and killing people. Some entries read:

“Niggers were going to die”.

There was also a picture of an AK 45 under it read-“I want an AK 45.”

His profile mentions that his politics is “WAR”

The Hi5 profile on the other hand is more tempered down to what you would expect for 21 year old Jamaican male. Fray does seem quite popular. In the last few days after his identity was revealed people who know Fray has been commenting on his profile. A few interesting entries are:

Yow stephen how u fi go hi jack plane…..u deh world wide now!… and

“Oh stephen my heart goes out to u and ur family.I am praying for you and hope you will be ok,and come back to us.Just know ATI/RTI wont be the same without you.bless. “

As many of Stephen friends have said he is jovial and well mannered, this is the last thing they would expect from him. I think it is interesting how he had two profiles online. I don’t know if anyone can see the significance of that because one was Dark (Facebook) and the other was more typical of what society would accept (Hi5). The dark side was unleashed Sunday night when he “Hijacked Canjet 918.

I am not picking on this guy but I really don’t buy the whole “mentally challenged” argument, if you are breathing and have to deal with any shit life throws at you, then you are bound to become “mentally challenged” in the general sense.I think this is used as an excuse for bad behavior in many things. There was no history of mental illness. Everyone has shit they have to deal with , yes I can acknowledge that some deal with it better than others, in some cases people just snap which could possibly explain why he did what he did.

Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this. What was his plan?. Fray reportedly announced “I want to go to America,” after brandishing a gun, I thought it was Cuba.

Did he really expect to get away with this. Did he really think they would take the plane into the air? Did he really rob those passengers?

One passenger said the idea to take the money from passengers and let them go was an idea by a flight attendant in exchange to release the passengers (bribe). Does that mean he robbed the passengers, if he did rob them and took their money then obviously he had the idea in his head that he could have gotten away?. He fired a warning shot outside the plane which means he might have doubts people might have taken him seriously.

One passenger describe Fray as “”very calm for a person who was hijacking a plane”

Destination Cuba? , First I hear it was the United States than Europe, What was he going to do if and when the plane landed at his requested destination?-

what does this mean-He never had a plan, maybe he is watching too many movies.

The question now is what will happen to Mr. Fray, well the stars seem to be aligned in his favor as he was is still alive and although many people are calling this a hijack according to the legal definition of the word the plane must be  “in flight” to be deemed a hijack. He will not face the long sentence that goes with this charge.

Major newspapers profile Stephen Fray:

Who is Stephen Fray? The Jamaica Gleaner

His eyes looked glossy The Jamaica Observer


~ by RB on April 21, 2009.

7 Responses to “Hijack on the Tarmac?-Jamaica’s First Brush with an International Crisis-Video”

  1. It’s the F****** hypocrisy that had caused me to take down Barbados Free Press as a link on my blog. They constantly make anti-Jamaican comments when there is a story that has anything to do with Jamaica.

    The only thing that saddens me is that they have no idea how screwy their country is, but I’m just biding my time and once it’s confirmed that I no longer have to be in bim I’m going to release the full stories and I look forward to hearing their response.

    At least when the police in Jamaica shoot civilians we know about it.

  2. I have sense the same sentiments in other posts from the blog, but as one person said in the comments section “take the matter out of your eye before you take it out of mine.

  3. I can’t believe Barbados free press make a statement like that! That is blatantly anti-Jamaican! Fyah fi Barbados free press!

  4. We excel in so many things.

  5. a who did say “we likle but we tallawa”? Really and truly I don’t see what a 20 year old would go an do that at all. my best bet is a bad situation just got out of hand

  6. What’s up Dutty?

    Lawd – that’s all I could say about this incident for days. When I first heard the report I was praying that someone hijacked the plane and it had to land in Jamaica and that was the extent of Jamaica’s involvement, but that wasn’t so. Lawd.
    None of us individual Jamaicans are responsible for what this young eediot did. What the hell was he really thinking??? Only God knows. Now dem going fi lock him up for di rest of him life and seh him have psychological problems.

    Sometimes yuh have fi tekk bad ting and laugh. Jamaica have world class football team, world class Olympians, DC sniper, shoe bomber and now hijacker.

    We are too audacious and brazen. LOL!

  7. Paulette- I was surprise myself when I first heard of this hijacking also hoping it wasn’t true, but the realities of one idiot causing the whole world to look at Jamaicans through the terrorist/ plane hijacking lens is so sad. As you said we Jamaicans are in a spheres of international fame both good and bad.

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